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Mary Peltola wins Alaska’s special U.S. House race

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Democrat Mary Peltola has won election to theU.S. House, beating Democratic Sarah Palin to fill the remainder of the late Congressman Don Young’s term in office.

“ I feel like I need to catch my breath for a nanosecond, ” Peltola said, speaking to sympathizers at an office in town Anchorage Wednesday after the results were tallied.
Peltola, who surpassed Palin by three chance points, will be the first Alaska Native person to serve in Congress.

“ I’ll have that distinction, ” said Peltola. “ But I suppose what’s most important is that I ’m Alaskan and being transferred to represent all Alaskans. ”
Peltola will also be the first woman to fill Alaska’s soleU.S. House seat.

a man and woman look at a laptop on a table while a group of people with headphones and microphones crowd around them
Mary Peltola and her crusade staff watch votes get tallied on Wednesday in town Anchorage as journalists and shutterbugs look on.( Matt Faubion/ Alaska Public Media)
The unofficial results of Alaska’s first ranked choice election were blazoned Wednesday autumn on a livestream from the Division of choices office in Juneau.

Peltola, who’s Yup’ik and represented Bethel in the state House for a decade, was ahead of formerGov. Palin by nearly 9 chance points when only first- choice ballots were counted.
Democratic seeker Nick Begich III finished third and was excluded on Wednesday as the ranked choice tabulation began. Just over half of his choosers had marked Palin as their alternate choice, 29 of them named Peltola and 21 either didn’t mark a alternate- choice seeker or ranked a write- in seeker second.

Peltola won with51.5 of the vote, to Palin’s48.5.
At her crusade headquarters in Anchorage on Wednesday, Palin said she felt “ more fired up than ever. ”

“ We ’ve only just begun to fight for Alaska I feel like, ” she said. “ This is just, you know, the call to arms, you guys ”
a woman in spectacles walks into a room with balloons
Sarah Palin at her Anchorage crusade headquarters on Wednesday.( Valerie Kern/ Alaska Public Media)
In a speech to sympathizers, Palin also questioned election integrity and again blamed the state’s new ranked choice voting system. She latterly told journalists she “ does not anticipate ” challenging the results of the election in court.
Palin and Peltola have been musketeers since their days in Juneau, when Palin was governor and Peltola was a solon. Despite the loss, Palin had only good effects to say about her opponent.

“ She’s a beautiful soul. She’s a great mama , has a heart for Alaska, ” said Palin. “ We just represent veritably, veritably polarizing views. ”
a woman stands in front of a crowd, with a” Sarah for Alaska” sign in the background
Sarah Palin addresses her sympathizers at her crusade headquarters.( Valerie Kern/ Alaska Public Media)
The vote will be certified on Friday. Peltola will probably be sworn in the week ofSept. 12, when the House reconvenes after its summer recess. The Speaker of the House could also call a special session just to swear Peltola in early.
Peltola will be in office until at least January, when the term ends. Meanwhile, she, Palin and Begich are campaigning for the coming full term, which will be on the November ballot.

For further choices content visitalaskapublic.org/elections.
Alaska Public Media journalist Chris Klint contributed to this story.

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