With 59 days to go until the general election, Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola of Bethel is on a flight to Washington, D.C. this morning, where she will be sworn in on Tuesday as the first Alaska Native member of Congress and the first new congressional representative Alaska has had since 1973. She is filling out the term of Congressman Don Young and she will be working hard to flip the seat blue in November. She’ll have help from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while the Republican Party itself has pretty much given it up to her by staying on the sidelines:
Trivia Saturday: There are no living prior members of the U.S. House from Alaska.
A list of prior House members for Alaska since 1906:
- – Don Young – March 6, 1973 – March 18, 2022
- – Nicholas Begich – January 3, 1971 – December 29, 1972
- – Howard Pollock – January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
- – Ralph Rivers – January 3, 1959 – December 30, 1966
- – Bob Bartlett – January 3, 1945 – January 3, 1959
- – Anthony Dimond – March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1945
- – James Wickersham – March 4, 1931 – March 3, 1933
- – Daniel Sutherland – March 4, 1921 – March 3, 1931
- – James Wickersham – March 1, 1921 – March 3, 1921
- – George Grigsby – June 3, 1920 – March 1, 1921
- – Charles Sulzer – March 4, 1919 – April 28, 1919
- – James Wickersham – January 7, 1919 – March 3, 1919
- – Charles Sulzer – March 4, 1917 – January 7, 1919
- – James Wickersham – March 4, 1909 – March 3, 1917
- – Thomas Cale – March 4, 1907 – March 3, 1909
- – Frank Wacksey – August 14, 1906 – March 3, 1907
The Federalist: Alaska’s ranked-choice voting scheme was a plot to save Murkowski, but it also doomed Palin
Election officials called Alaska’s special election House race for Democrat Mary Peltola over 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin last week. Peltola’s victory, despite nearly 60 percent of votes cast for a Republican on all first-choice ballots, will mark the first time since 1973 that a Democrat will represent the state in the lower chamber.
Whether the August contest was Palin’s race or Republican Nick Begich’s race to lose is an open question. Whether the Republicans’ loss was a consequence of Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system, however, is no doubt, and GOP Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the one to blame.
In 2010, Sen. Murkowski captured re-election through a triumphant write-in campaign after losing the Republican primary to a former federal magistrate who was backed by Palin. Murkowski comfortably won a third full term in 2016 but continued to antagonize the state’s Republican base with votes to oppose restrictions on abortion, preserve Obamacare, and convict President Donald Trump in his second impeachment. Murkowski also voted “present” in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and she upset constituents when last year she served as the tie-breaker to move forward the nomination of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who has shut down state development projects.
In other words, Murkowski did not strive to win over Republicans in a state that went for Trump by 10 points in 2020. To save her seat, Murkowski operatives devised a plan to avoid a primary by radically transforming the state’s election system. The answer became ranked-choice voting, a ballot system to rig elections in favor of the incumbent. Read the story at this link.
Washington Post says Palin lost the seat for the GOP
Sarah Palin has made no secret since her loss in the Alaska special congressional election last week that she doesn’t appreciate the state’s new ranked-choice voting system, which she and other prominent conservatives have blamed for her loss.
They should blame Sarah Palin.
Whatever you think about ranked-choice voting, one of its benefits is that it can show you just how good each candidate was at appealing to the broader electorate — the stated purpose of the system. And new data confirms something that seemed pretty evident last week: Palin cost her party a House seat it otherwise very likely would have won.
The state Division of Elections has put out new data on how the election went down. And the data suggest that the other Republican in the race, Nick Begich, would have defeated Rep.-elect Mary Peltola (D) if the race had boiled down to the two of them. Story is at this link.
Business Insider: Palin floats voter fraud concept
Sarah Palin, a former GOP vice-presidential candidate and the former Republican Governor of Alaska, has leaned into a popular Trumpworld tactic — baselessly alleging fraud after an election loss.
In an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast, Palin complained about ranked-choice voting in the state, claiming without substantiation that there could have been voter fraud.
Ranked-choice voting involves voters ranking candidates on the ballots by preference. The system was used in the state’s recent special House election in which Palin lost to Mary Peltola, a Democrat. Story is at this link.
Politico: How Mary Peltola beat Sarah Palin
Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola did what many thought was the unthinkable.
She defeated a pair of Republican challengers – a former governor with near universal name recognition and another who is part of a political dynasty – to become the first Democrat in almost 50 years to become Alaska’s lone U.S. representative.
She also made history.
An Alaska Yupik, Peltola will be the first Indigenous person to represent the state when she’s sworn in later this month.
Her victory though is not without controversy.
Republicans, including those thought to have eyes on a White House run in 2024, railed against the election results, characterizing Alaska’s newly implemented ranked-choice voting as “a scam to rig elections” and a process that “disenfranchises voters.”
There is no evidence to back this up. Read the story here.
Endorsements: Kelly Tshibaka for Senate was endorsed by Edgar Blatchford, Alaska educator who was eliminated from the race during the primary. He is the Democrat whom the Democrats did not endorse, as they favored Pat Chesbro. Lisa Murkowski released a long list of endorsements from Native leaders. That list is here.
Jesse Booth of Metlakatla, and David Mead of Anchorage endorsed Nick Begich for Congress.