The Midtown Mall polling location was packed on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, which marked the first day of early in-person voting for Alaska's general election. (Photo by Matt Buxton/TMS).

Moderate Republican candidate Tara Sweeney saw her chances of appearing on the special election ballot for U.S. House evaporate this weekend with a ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court, but it could be the remaining Republicans in the race—Nick Begich and Sarah Palin—who could be the real losers.

From the get-go, it always seemed like a long shot for Sweeney to make the special general election ballot. The law is pretty clear that anything not specifically lined out for special elections will default to the general election process, which means the 64-day deadline to fill vacancies on the ballot had already passed by the time independent candidate Al Gross surprisingly withdrew from the race. Sure, it doesn’t really make sense given the tight deadlines of a special election but, after all, it’s not like the law has always made sense and was free of internal conflicts.

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