Democrat Mary Peltola has defeated former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin in Alaska’s Special Election to finish out the rest of the term held by the late GOP Rep. Don Young, who died in March after serving 49 years in congress. Young was the longest-serving republican member in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Associated Press called the race for Peltola with 51.5% against Palin’s 48.5 percent. Palin was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Peltola will be the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress. She is a former member of the state House and interim executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Alaska’s August 16 primary Special Election results were delayed until now because Alaskans approved the rank-choice voting method.
Alaska changed their primary election rules of voting by political party primaries becoming the second state after Maine to adopted such a process.
Rank-choice has its downside.
In the primary, every candidate is on the ballot – not by party split. Voters cast their support for their first choice and second choice. If no candidate gets 51% plus one to win, the next stage of counting after absentee vote inclusion continues.
If no candidate achieves 50% plus one vote wins, then the process shifts to dropping the lower-ranked candidate, and taking their voters’ second choice candidates to add to those surviving candidates.
This Special Election result is expected to be certified on September 2.
Peltola and Palin are still on the ballot , and will face-off for the same congressional seat in the November general election race for the same congressional seat.