On Wednesday, democrat Mary Peltola won the special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House of Representative seat, stealing the seat from Republican representative Sarah Palin. The latter sought a political comeback in the state where she was once the governor.
Peltola will become the first Alaska Native to serve in the House and the first woman to hold the seat. She will serve the remaining months of the late Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term. Young had held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.
In an interview, Peltola said, “Really, I’m just so grateful to Alaskans and all the Alaskans who put their faith in me to fill out the remainder of Congressman Young’s term. My desire is to follow in Congressman Young’s legacy of representing all Alaskans, and I’m just looking forward to getting to work.”
Peltola will be the first democrat to hold the seat since the late U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, who was seeking reelection in 1972 when his plane unfortunately disappeared. Begich was later declared deceased, and Young, in 1973, was elected to the seat. Peltola’s victory is an excellent marker for Democrats, especially after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
All three, Peltola, Palin, and Begich, are candidates in the November general election, all seeking a two-year term starting in January.
The results of this election came 15 days after the Aug. 16 election, in line with the deadline for state elections officials to receive absentee ballots mailed from outside the U.S. Ranked choice tabulations took place Wednesday after no candidate won more than 50% of the first choice votes, with state elections officials live streaming the event, according to the U.S. News. Peltola was in the lead heading into the tabulations, followed by Plain and then Begich.
Democratic party chair Michael Wenstrup said in a statement, “Alaskans have made clear they want a rational, steadfast, honest and caring voice speaking for them in Washington D.C., not opportunists and extremists associated with the Alaska Republican Party.”