The results are in and it appears former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will not be going to Congress. Democrat Mary Peltola managed to win the special election to fill the state’s House seat for the rest of 2022. However, this could be a temporary victory.
This particular election was notable in that it was the first time Alaska used a ranked-choice voting system. Also, this will be the first time a Democrat has held this particular seat in 49 years. RedState’s Cameron Arcand wrote up an explanation of how the system works here. The race was seen by many as an opportunity for Palin to return to the national political stage.
Democrat Mary Peltola won an Alaska special election to serve the remaining months of the late GOP U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term. Peltola edged out Sarah Palin, who was attempting a political comeback more than a decade after she resigned as Alaska governor. https://t.co/ZPgbx2ZGSe
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 1, 2022
The special election process began when a field of 48 candidates — including Santa Claus, a North Pole councilman and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter — was whittled down to a final four in a June primary in which candidates of all parties ran together on one ballot.
Palin; Peltola; Nick Begich III, a Republican businessman from the state’s most famous Democratic political family; and independent Al Gross were the four that advanced. But shortly after the primary, Gross dropped out of the race, a move that consolidated Democratic support behind Peltola.
If I’m reading the blurry screen correctly, Peltola (D) was aided by a huge “exhaustion” rate among Begich voters. Begich’s ballots broke down:
Palin (R) 50.3%
Peltola (D) 28.8%
No second choice (exhaust): 20.9%
In the end, Palin was so disliked #AKAL wasn’t even that close.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) September 1, 2022
The results of the race can be viewed below. But this doesn’t mean one should count Palin out just yet. Peltola will fill the late Rep. Don Young’s seat for the rest of the year. Both Palin and Peltola will be running to fill Alaska’s seat in the House in November.