Mary Peltola of Bethel, Alaska has won the temporary seat for Congress. She appears to have won by about 3 percent.
Peltola received over 91,000 votes and Sarah Palin received over 85,000 votes. Peltola appears to have 51.47%, Palin 48.53%. Results have not as of this writing been posted by the Division of Elections and are not final until certified.
The Division of Elections ran the count for the second choice made by voters who picked Nick Begich first for the seat, and assigned them to Peltola and Palin, according to how voters had indicated. The results were announced by a blurry and sometimes hard to hear livestream on Facebook almost immediately after 4 pm on Wednesday, when the second choices from Begich’s ballots were redistributed to their respective candidates.
- – 50.3% of Begich second votes went to Palin.
- – 28.7% of Begich second votes went to Peltola.
- – 20.9% of the voters did not rank another candidate.
Alaska adopted a complicated ranked choice voting method in 2020, via Ballot Measure 2, a scheme pushed with out-of-state liberal billionaire dollars; it passed by a small margin. The special general election to replace the late Congressman Don Young is the first time it has been used in the state.
There were over 11,222 “exhausted” ballots in the final count. Those were voters who chose no one on the ballot after Begich.
Peltola is the first Alaska Native to serve in the one congressional seat that Alaska has. She will fill out the remaining term of Young, until the regular election decides who will serve in the seat for the two years starting in January. Peltola, who served in the Alaska Legislature under the name Mary Sattler from 1999-2009, has the least amount of funding in the race and had only received 10% of the vote during the jungle primary election on June 11, when there were 48 people on the ballot.
She is also the first Democrat to hold the seat since Nick Begich I died in a plane crash in October of 1972. And she will be the first woman.
For Palin, it’s a serious blow for her political comeback. She had been endorsed by former President Donald Trump but could not convince enough voters to put her first or second on their ballots. The conservatives — Begich and Palin — had 60% of the vote combined at the end of the primary, but it was Peltola who managed to get enough second place votes to put her ahead.