Democrat Mary Peltola Wins Upset in Alaska Over Sarah Palin in Special Election

Democrat Mary Peltola, a former state representative, will be the first Native American to represent Alaska in Congress after she won a special election that included GOP candidates Nick Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin, NBC News projects.

Peltola, who is executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, previously served10 years in the state Legislature and campaigned as “Alaska’s best shot at keeping an extremist from winning.”

She finished fourth in a crowded nonpartisan June primary that saw 48 candidates battling to secure one of the four spots on the Aug. 16 special election ballot. But heading into Wednesday’s final tabulation, Peltola was leading the pack.

The special election was the state’s first test of ranked-choice voting, which was implemented after a 2020 ballot measure. The same system will be used in November.


Defeat for Palin closes the door on an immediate political comeback — but she is also on the ballot in Alaska’s regularly scheduled congressional election this fall, when the winner will earn a full two-year term.



After Peltola’s victory was announced, Palin called the ranked voting system “crazy, convoluted, confusing.”

“Though we’re disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last one who’ll ever retreat,” Palin said in a statement.

Washington Post

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