After winning a special election determined by ranked-choice voting on Wednesday, Democrat Mary Peltola will represent Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat. She will be the only Alaska born to serve in Congress.
Peltola, a former state legislator, defeated Sarah Palin, a former Alaska governor and the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, by three percentage points in the final round of voting, 51.5% to 48.5%.
Peltola’s victory denies Palin, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, an immediate return to the national political stage.
This How The Candidates Finished After Initial Voting
The Alaska special election was held earlier this month, but it took until Wednesday to count all mail-in votes and determine the winner using the state’s new ranked-choice voting system.
Because Republican Nick Begich III finished third in the election, voters who chose him as their first choice (or who wrote in another candidate) had their ballots redistributed to the candidate who was their second choice.
Rep. Don Young, who died earlier this year at the age of 88, was the subject of the special election. Peltola will finish her term, and then she, Palin, and Begich will compete for the next two years in November.
Peltola And Palin Both Served As State Legislators
While Palin had harsh words for fellow Republican Begich, she avoided attacking Peltola during the campaign, instead calling her a sweetheart. Peltola also did not denigrate Palin, telling NPR, “There is a big premium on being humble, on not using provocative language or strict natures.”
Peltola will only serve until the conclusion of Young’s term in January. She will be on the ballot again in November, along with Palin and Begich, to seek a full two-year term.
Palin criticised ranked-choice voting again on Wednesday, saying it “was presented as a mechanism to make elections better represent the will of the people,” but it had the “reverse” impact.
She stated, “Despite our disappointment at the outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last person who will ever retreat. I’m going to reload instead. With the hope that Alaskans will learn from this voting system error and remedy it in the next election, let us work even harder in November to send an America First conservative to Washington.”