Democrat Peltola beats Palin in Alaska special election upset


Defeat for Palin closes the door to an immediate political comeback — but she’s also on the ballot in Alaska’s regularly scheduled congressional elections this fall, when the winner will earn a full two-year term.

Peltola’s win is the latest in a string of Democrats’ overachievement in congressional special elections since the Supreme Court’s overturned ruling Roe v. Wade, although Alaska’s ranked choice system and Palin’s great personality were unusual factors here. Peltola has been an advocate for preserving abortion rights, as well as protecting the environment and addressing local issues, such as addressing a salmon shortage in Western Alaska.

The Democrat was outmatched 4-to-1 by Palin.

Trump handily won Alaska in 2020, 53 percent to 43 percent ahead of President Joe Biden.

Peltola is part of the Yup’ik Indigenous community and has also served as executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which brought together more than 100 tribes in western Alaska.

More than 45 candidates ran in Alaska’s lone congressional district special election earlier this year, where four finalists were named for the special general in mid-August. And Palin wasn’t the only well-known name: Begich is a member of a legendary political family in the state.

The Republican is a cousin of former Democratic Senate Mark Begich and the state’s minority leader Tom Begich, and he is the grandson of former Democratic Representative Nick Begich, who once held the seat of Alaska’s House and was pronounced dead after his plane went missing during campaigns in 1972.

Alaska’s election to replace the late GOP Representative Don Young took place a few weeks ago, but ballots have been rolling in across the state since then. Then the ranked-choice system kicks in: Under Alaska’s new electoral system, if a candidate doesn’t get a majority of the vote in first place, the votes are re-set – so support for the lowest vote-getter goes to that person’s next pick. voters – until a majority winner emerges. In 2020, the voting system will be enacted into law.

Although Palin has been absent for years, she has never fully closed the door to a return to politics. Palin had contributed to Fox News as a political commentator in mid-2010 and bought a house in Arizona in 2011 before selling it several years ago. She also launched a high-profile defamation lawsuit against The New York Times, which she lost earlier this year.

Peltola will join a historically large contingent of Native Americans in current Congress. Others are Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Rep. Yvette Herrell (DN.M.), Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Markwayne Mullen (R-Okla.).

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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