Democrat Mary Peltola defeats Sarah Palin in special election for Alaska House seat


Democrat Mary Peltola is expected to win the special general election in Alaska for the state’s only House seat, ABC News reports.

Peltola defeated two Republicans – former Republican Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Nick Begich – and will be the first Democrat to represent the state in the House in nearly half a century, succeeding late Rep. Don Young. in March.

Peltola will also be the first Alaskan to represent the state in Congress.

Begich had been eliminated under ranked pick rules; Peltola beat Palin about 51-49%.

“The most important thing is that I am an Alaskan sent to represent all Alaskans. Yes, being an Alaskan is part of my ethnicity, but I am so much more than my ethnicity,” Peltola said after the results were announced according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Mary Peltola attends the Congressional Candidate Forum in Anchorage, Alaska on May 12, 2022.

The Washington Post via Getty Images, FILE

The election, which was called on Wednesday about two weeks after voting ended, was historic for a more technical reason: It was the first race in Alaska to use ranked ballots.

The process – which supporters said would encourage consensus-building, but which Palin described as “convoluted” – worked as follows: if a candidate in the election initially won more than 50% of the first choice, he would have won the race outright. This did not happen during the special race on August 17. (Peltola initially ended up with around 40%).

Then, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes — Begich — was eliminated, and that candidate’s voters instead had their ballots redistributed to their second choice until one candidate got at least 50 percent.

PHOTO: U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska, speaks at the CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hilton Anatole on August 4, 2022 in Dallas .

U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska, speaks during the CPAC Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hilton Anatole on August 4, 2022 in Dallas.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Peltola is a Yup-ik native to Alaska and a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives. As state legislator, she chaired the bipartisan Bush Caucus of Rural Politicians. Additionally, she served in the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission before leaving for her congressional campaign.

On the track, she prioritized climate change, responsible resource development and infrastructure for airports, ferries, highways and energy grids.

Peltola will only serve the remainder of Young’s term, which ends in January. She is on the ballot again in November – along with Palin and Begich – to try to win a full two-year term.

In a statement Wednesday, Palin reiterated her criticism of preferential voting, saying it was “sold as the way to make elections better reflect the will of the people” but had the “opposite” effect.

She said that “while we are disappointed with this result, Alaskans know that I am the last to retreat. Instead, I will reload. With the optimism that Alaskans learn from this error in the electoral system and fix it in the next election, let’s work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November.”

ABC News

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