Democrat Mary Peltola Beats Sarah Palin In Alaska's House Race
The Democrat Mary Peltola has won the special election for Alaska’s only US House seat, besting a field that included the Republican Sarah Palin, who was seeking a political comeback in the state where she was once governor, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Photo Insert: Newly-elected Representative, Democrat, Mary Peltola. In Alaska, voters last backed a Democrat for president in 1964.
Peltola, who is Yup’ik and turned 49 on Wednesday, will become the first Alaska Native to serve in the House and the first woman to hold the seat. She will serve the remaining months of the late Republican US Representative Don Young’s term.
Young held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.
Peltola’s victory, coming in Alaska’s first statewide ranked choice voting election, is a boon for Democrats, particularly coming off better-than-expected performances in special elections around the country this year following the supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.
In Alaska, voters last backed a Democrat for president in 1964. But the state also has a history of rewarding candidates with an independent streak. The state has more registered unaffiliated voters than registered Republicans or Democrats combined.
She will be the first Democrat to hold the seat since the late US Representative Nick Begich, who was seeking reelection in 1972 when his plane disappeared. Begich was later declared dead and Young in 1973 was elected to the seat.
Peltola ran as a coalition builder while her two Republican opponents – Palin and Begich’s grandson, also named Nick Begich – at times went after each other. Palin also railed against the ranked voting system, which was instituted by Alaska voters.
The results came 15 days after the 16 August election, in line with the deadline for state election officials to receive absentee ballots mailed from outside the US. Ranked choice tabulations took place Wednesday after no candidate won more than 50% of the first choice votes.
Peltola was in the lead heading into the tabulation rounds, The Guardian also reported.