Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola will challenge former Gov. Sarah Palin. She is a Democrat who won a special election that sent her to Congress this year. Sarah Palin is attempting a political comeback. CNN predicted Wednesday that Peltola would win the race to Alaska’s large House seat. This was after the state’s ranked-choice voting tabulation. Palin and Republican Nick Begich III were defeated.
CNN also predicted that Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski would win reelection. She will defeat Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. CNN previously indicated that a Republican would hold the seat.
Republican Gov. CNN projects that Mike Dunleavy will be reelected. He defeated Les Gara, Democrat, and Bill Walker, Independent. Dunleavy received more than half of the first-choice votes. Therefore, ranked choice tabulation wasn’t necessary.
Alaskan voters approved the switch to ranked-choice voting in 2020. It will be in effect for the first time in 2022.
The new system allows Alaskans to hold open primaries. Voters can cast ballots for any candidate, and the top four finishers advance. Voters rank these four candidates from their first choice to the fourth.
The state tabulates the ranked-choice results if no candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes. This includes dropping the last-place finisher to shift those votes to the voters’ second choices. If there is no winner after the first round of tabulation, the state will drop the third-place finisher and continue the vote-shifting process.
Peltola defeats Palin again.
Peltola won the House seat for the first time in August, when a similar situation played out in an August special election to fill in the term of late Rep. Don Young. Young was a Republican who had represented Alaska in the House for 49 years.
After receiving only 40% of the first-place votes, Peltola was elected the August special election winner. She has a more significant share this time, while Begich and Palin have seen their support drop.
The House race is an excellent example of the unique alliances in Alaska politics. Although Peltola is a Democrat, she is also close to Palin, whose tenure in the House overlapped with Peltola’s time as a Juneau state lawmaker. Both have praised one another warmly. Palin has criticized the ranked-choice voting system. She never personally aimed Peltola.
Palin and Begich, the Republicans in the race for the Republican nomination, urged voters to “rank red” and name the two GOP candidates first and second.
After her victory in the special election, Peltola won many of her supporters quickly — partly because she has strong relationships with several Republicans.
In an interview with CNN, Peltola stated that she and Palin had bonded in Juneau as new mothers. She also said that Palin’s family had given Peltola its backyard trampoline after Palin resigned.
Palin praised Peltola at an Alaska Federation of Natives candidate forum held in October.
“Doggone, there’s nothing to complain about. I wish she would come over to the other side. “But other than that, I love her,” Palin stated of Peltola.
Peltola’s family was also close with the Young family. Peltola stated that Young and his father had been hunting friends for decades and taught school together.
The trump-backed challenge to Murkowski wins.
Murkowski, a moderate Republican in the race for Alaska’s Senate Seat, was attacked by Donald Trump when she voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trials following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Murkowski also voted against Trump on several key votes during Trump’s presidency.
Trump endorsed Tshibaka, and former Trump campaign officials were involved in her campaign. The Alaska Republican Party also supported her, choosing to support the conservative candidate in a state Trump had won by 10 points in 2020.
Murkowski, however, had formed a large coalition in a more complex state than it appeared. Both she and Peltola had made it clear that they would rank one another first in their elections.
Chesbro, a Democrat, was one of the four candidates that advanced to the general elections. Republican Buzz Kelley, a Republican, also ran but dropped out. He urged his supporters not to vote for Tshibaka.