Former state legislator Mary Peltola beat former Republican governor Sarah Pallin to become the first Democrat to represent Alaska in Congress in almost fifty years.
Ms. Peltola, a former state representative whose mother was Yup’ik, will also be the first Alaskan native to represent the state since it officially joined the union as a state in 1959.
She responded to the result by tweeting, “It’s a GOOD DAY.”
NBC News reported that Ms. Peltola received 51.5% of the vote (91,206 votes), while Ms. Palin received 48.5% (85,987 votes).
Alaska’s only congressional seat opened earlier this year when Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving Republican congressman, died. Mr. Young himself won a special election in 1973.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated Ms. Peltola on being the first Alaska Native ever elected to Congress.
“His valuable and unifying perspective, his deep experience in public service and his commitment to working families will strengthen the work of our caucus and Congress,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.
The White House also said President Joe Biden congratulated her.
“The President congratulated her on her historic victory in the special election in Alaska on Wednesday,” the White House said. “The two had a very warm conversation during which he told her that he looked forward to working with her to reduce costs for working families in Alaska when she is sworn into her seat in Congress. also wished a very happy birthday.
The race is a boon for Democrats after taking a seat in a special election in New York’s 19th District last week. It also shows the importance of protecting the right to abortion after the Supreme Court ruling. Dobbs vs. Jackson decision overturned Roe vs. Wade earlier this year. Ms. Peltola has been heavy on protecting abortion rights while focusing heavily on workers’ rights and fishing in the state.
Ms. Peltola’s victory marks the first test in Alaska of its new ranked voting system, in which the top four voters head into the general election. In general elections, voters rank their choices in order of preference.
After the counting of the first ballot, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the voters’ second choice wins their votes. This continues until a candidate receives more than half of the votes.
Democrat victory comes despite Republican aggressivenessClassify the redCampaign to ensure Republican voters rank Mr. Begich and Ms. Palin as their top two picks.
Ms Peltola will serve Mr Young’s term until January, then will also have to run for a full term against Ms Palin and Nick Begich, as well as Libertarian candidate Chris Bye after fellow Republican Tara Sweeney. finished his campaign.
Ms Palin hit the national stage in 2008 when the Republican presidential candidate John McCain made her his surprise pick as the running mate – the first female Republican chosen for the role.
She had been mayor of Wasilla before being elected governor in 2006.
Her vice-presidential run made her a right-wing media hero, even as she accused barack obama to “chat” with terrorists and made a series of blunders that were scrutinized.
Nevertheless, Ms Palin won the affection of many conservatives in the movement, and she resigned as governor less than a year after becoming a right-wing celebrity.
She frequently appeared on Fox News and campaigned for major conservative challengers – including against fellow Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, when she backed Tea Party challenger Joe Miller in the 2010 Republican primary.
Ms. Murkowski for her part congratulated Ms. Peltola on her victory.
“Mary made history today; not just state history, but national history, as the first Alaskan Native woman elected to Congress,” she said.
His character also served as a precursor to the President donald trumpThe hostile Republican Party takeover and Ms. Palin was the only former Republican presidential or vice-presidential candidate to endorse Mr. Trump in the 2016 GOP primary. Mr. Trump would later return the favor in endorsing Ms. Palin’s congressional run early enough and campaigning with her this year.