Results: Mary Peltola defeats Sarah Palin and others: Alaska's at-large district US House election

Palin/Peltola 2022 midterms
Former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, left, faces Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, right, and three other candidates.LM Otero/AP Photo; Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP Photo; Insider
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  • Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola won against three others — including Sarah Palin — in Alaska's at-large congressional district.

  • Alaska has only one congressional district and therefore does not go through a redistricting process.

  • After Peltola's special election win, The Cook Political Report shifted its forecast of the race from "likely Republican" to "toss-up" to "lean Democratic."

Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola of Alaska defeated three challengers in Alaska's at-large congressional district general election — most notably former Gov. Sarah Palin.


Alaska's at-large congressional district candidates

Peltola, who won the at-large seat for Alaska in the US House special election, is the first Alaskan Native to be elected to the House of Representatives. Her victory also established Peltola as the first woman to ever represent Alaska in the House and the first Democrat to do so since 1972.

A Yup'ik Alaskan Native, Peltola worked as a herring and salmon technician for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009 and as executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, where she helped mobilize 118 tribes and rural Alaskans to advocate for the protection of salmon runs in the western regions of the state.

After Peltola defied expectations to earlier this year defeat former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and a cast of other candidates in a special election that used the state's brand-new ranked-choice voting system, The Cook Political Report shifted its forecast of the race from "likely Republican" to "toss-up."

Peltola is serving the remainder of former Rep. Don Young's term following his death in March and will be up for election to a full term in November. Young, who died at 88, was the longest-serving Republican in the House and was the oldest member of both the House and Senate.

Palin, the former governor of Alaska, has known Peltola for years and served alongside her in the Alaska state house. Following her win, Peltola told Insider that Palin complimented her as "a real Alaskan chick."

"We've been texting this morning and she sent well wishes and let me know that she's been referring to me as, let me make sure I'm saying it correctly, 'a real Alaskan chick. Beautiful and smart and tough,'" she said.

After her defeat, Republicans attacked ranked-choice voting, which Palin herself has railed against, calling it a "cockamamie system" that is "very, very potentially fraught with fraud."

Palin, the first female governor of Alaska, as well as the first woman to appear on the Republican Party's vice presidential ticket, is a commentator, author, and reality television personality. She started her political career in the city of Wasilla, Alaska, as a member of the city council, where her family settled when she was eight years old. After stints as Wasilla's mayor and chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, she was elected governor of Alaska in 2006.

Palin burst onto the national political scene in 2008 when the Republican Sen. John McCain named her, a self-described "hockey mom" with almost no foreign policy experience, as his presidential running mate.

The McCain-Palin ticket eventually lost the election to President Barack Obama.

Although Alaska's 2022 general election, much like the special election, will largely be centered around Peltola and Palin, Alaska's ranked choice voting system makes this a four-way race.

Two other candidates will also be in the race to represent the non-contiguous US state: Nick Begich, who co-chaired for the late Rep. Don Young's 2020 re-election campaign, and Libertarian Chris Bye.

Republican Tara Sweeney had qualified for the four-way race, but pulled out, meaning Bye — originally the 5th place finisher — advanced to the general election.

Voting history for Alaska's at-large congressional district

Alaska's at-large district, where former President Donald Trump had a 10 percentage point margin of victory over Biden in 2020, is the only congressional district in the state and therefore does not go through a redistricting process. The district has a Republican partisan lean.

The money race

According to OpenSecrets, Peltola raised $5.7 million, spent $3.3 million, and had $2.4 million on hand, as of October 19. Her top opponent, Palin, raised $1.7 million, spent $1.6 million, and had $120,201 cash on hand, while Begich raised about $1.6 million, spent $1.1 million, and had about $473,541 cash on hand, as of October 19.

As of early November, super PACs, national party committees, and other non-candidate groups had together spent about $5.2 million to advocate for or against the candidates.

What experts say

The race between Peltola and Palin was rated as "lean Democratic" by Inside Elections, a "lean Democratic" by The Cook Political Report, and "leans Democratic" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Read the original article on Business Insider