Sarah Palin, the former Alaska Republican governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate, lost a special election to Democrat Mary Peltola for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat. Peltola’s victory was declared Wednesday night, two weeks after voters cast ballots in the state’s first-ever ranked-choice voting election. In a close race, the Democrat, a former state legislator, defeated Palin and one other Republican candidate, Nick Begich III.
As The Daily Wire reports:
With her victory, Peltola became the state’s first indigenous person elected to Congress. She has campaigned on fighting climate change, strengthening Obamacare, supporting abortion rights, and defending the leftist LGBTQ Equality Act.
After the votes were tallied and Begich III was in third place, his votes went to the voters’ second option, giving Peltola 51.5% to Palin’s 48.5%. Political consultant Sarah Erkmann Ward pointed to Wednesday’s results as a “big wake-up call to Republicans” for how they should vote under the new ranked-choice system.
“Today’s reels should illustrate to Republicans very clearly that when they choose not to rank, there’s a good possibility that when their favorite candidate is eliminated, then their vote will no longer be in the mix. That appears to be what happened here,” she said, according to the Anchorage Daily News. “A certain segment of Republicans elected not to rank. That’s the consequence of not continuing on down your ballot.”
While Peltola defeated Palin in the special House race to immediately fill Alaska’s lone congressional seat left open after the death of Republican Rep. Don Young, the two will meet again in November for an election that will determine who gets the position for the full two-year term, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The seat had been filled by Young for nearly 50 years before he died in March.
According to Politico, Palin, who was endorsed in the race by former President Donald Trump, spent four times the amount of money spent by the Peltola campaign. Many people are surprised by the outcome, not only because Republicans have dominated the state for decades, but also because Trump defeated President Joe Biden in Alaska by 10 points in 2020.