Trump rolls out endorsements in Alaska, Utah House primaries

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Former President Trump weighed in on two tight GOP House primaries in Alaska and Utah on Monday, making endorsements as primary season gets into full swing.

In Alaska, Trump backed Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom over Nick Begich III. The contested primary has carried echoes of the 2022 race between Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin, which led to Rep. Mary Peltola (D) being elected in a general election upset when both Begich and Palin ran in the general election.

“Nancy Dahlstrom will be a tremendous Congresswoman for the Great People of Alaska, just as she was as your Lieutenant Governor,” Trump said in a Truth Social post.

He also went after Begich, claiming he has “Democrat tendencies” and criticizing him for refusing to drop out of the 2022 primary earlier, which led to Peltola’s victory following an instant runoff using the state’s ranked-choice system. 

Alaska, which has one at-large representative in the House, uses a top-four primary system in which all candidates run on the same primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation. The top four vote-getters then advance to the general election in November, where voters use a ranked-choice voting system to pick their favored candidates.

Begich has stated if he gets less of the vote share than Dahlstrom in the primary then he will drop out, even if he were to advance to the general election. By doing so, he would clear the path for Dahlstrom to be the de facto Republican candidate in November, allowing the party to coalesce around her as they seek to unseat Peltola.

Both parties have put significant effort into the Alaska race, with a razor-thin House majority up for grabs this November.

In Utah, Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Celeste Maloy puts him at odds with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has backed Maloy’s challenger Colby Jenkins. While the seat is safe for Republicans, the primary fight could mark underlying conflict in the Utah GOP.

Maloy won a special election in 2023 to replace former Rep. Chris Stewart (R), her former boss, in Utah’s 2nd District. Lee’s endorsement of her opponent is an unprecedented move, which Maloy herself denounced as an “unnecessary rift in the Utah delegation.”

The Utah endorsement comes just hours after Trump met with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday. Johnson has publicly backed Maloy in her race.

The House is generally considered to be up for grabs this November, according to political analysts. The Hill/Decision Desk HQ forecast predicts that Republicans have a 61 percent chance to keep the lower chamber.

The same forecast gave Peltola a 51 percent chance to hang on to her seat, and said the winner of the Utah primary will be safely elected.

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