Mary Peltola tries to thwart Sarah Palin as Alaska lists ranking-choice vote results


Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat who won a special election this summer and sent her to Congress, will again frustrate the former governor’s race. Sarah Palin is making a political comeback. CNN predicted Wednesday that Pertola would win Alaska’s general House seat after Alaska’s ranked-choice vote was tabulated, defeating Palin and Republican Nick Begich III.

CNN also predicted that the Republican Senator. Lisa Murkowski will win re-election. She will defeat Republican Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. CNN had previously predicted a Republican for the seat.

and Republican governors. CNN predicts that Mike Dunleavy will win re-election. He defeated Democrat Les Gara and independent Bill Walker. Dunleavy won more than 50 percent of the preferred vote, so there was no need for a ranked choice list.

In Alaska, voters approved switching to a ranked choice voting system in 2020. It’s first in place in 2022.

Under the new system, Alaska holds open primary elections in which voters cast their ballots for one candidate from any political party, with the top four advancing. In a general election, voters rank the four candidates from first to fourth choice.

If no candidate has more than 50% of the first choice vote, the state tabulates the ranked choice results — dropping last place and transferring those votes to the voter’s second choice. If there is still no winner after one round of tabulation, the third place is eliminated and the same voting transfer process takes place.

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When Peltola first won a House seat, a similar situation played out in an August special election to fill the remaining months of the late Representative’s term. Don Young, a Republican, died in March after 49 years representing Alaska in the House of Representatives.

Peltola, a self-described supporter of abortion rights and salmon fishing advocate, emerged as the winner of the August special election after receiving just 40 percent of the first-place vote. This time around, she has a bigger share, while Palin and Begić have seen their approval ratings dip.

The House race showcases an unusual coalition in Alaskan politics. Even though Pertola is a Democrat, she is also close to Palin — Palin’s term as governor overlapped with Pertola’s time as a state legislator in Juneau. The two praised each other one after another. Palin criticized the ranked-choice voting system. But she never targeted Pertola personally.

Both Palin and Begich, Republicans in the race, urged voters to “line in the red,” placing the two GOP contenders first and second.

But Pertola quickly won over many in the state after winning the special election — in part because of her deep ties to many Republicans.

Pertola said in an interview with CNN that she and Palin bonded in Juneau over becoming new moms, and after Palin resigned from the governor’s office, Pertola’s family put The backyard trampoline was given to the Pertolas.

Palin praised Pertola effusively at the Alaska Native Federation candidate forum in October.

“Damn it, I never had anything to complain about. I just wish she would switch to the other side. But other than that, love her,” Palin said of Pertola.

Peltola’s family is also close to the late Young’s family. Peltola’s father and Young taught at school together decades ago and were hunting partners, Peltola said in an interview.

In the race for a Senate seat in Alaska, moderate Republican Murkowski became a target of former President Donald Trump as she voted to convict him in his impeachment trial following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol . Murkowski also broke with Trump on some key votes during his presidency.

Trump backed Tshibaka, and a group of former Trump campaign officials worked on her campaign. She also has support from the Alaska Republican Party, which has opted to back the more conservative candidate Trump won the state by 10 percentage points in 2020.

But Murkowski built a broad coalition in a state where political alliances are often more complex than they appear on the surface. She and Pertola have publicly said they would put each other first in the election.

Democrat Chesebro is one of four candidates advancing to the general election. Republican Buzz Kelley also advanced but backed out and urged his supporters to vote for Tshibaka.

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