Alaska representative Marie Peltolathe Democrat, who won a special election that sent her to Congress this summer, will once again thwart the former governor. Sarah Pallinoffer for a political comeback. CNN predicted on Wednesday that Peltola would win the race to Alaska Big House Headquarters after the state ranked choice voting boarddefeating Palin and Republican Nick Begich III.
CNN also predicted that Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski would be re-elected. She will beat Republican Kelly Tshibaka and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. CNN previously predicted that a Republican would fill the seat.
And Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy will be re-elected, CNN predicted. He beat Democrat Les Gara and Independent Bill Walker. Dunleavy won over 50% of the first-choice votes, so tabulating the ranked picks was unnecessary.
In Alaska, voters in 2020 approved a move to a ranked-choice voting system. It is in place in 2022 for the first time.
Under the new system, Alaska holds open primaries and voters vote for a candidate from any party, and the top four advance. In the general election, voters rank these four candidates from their first choice to their fourth choice.
If no candidate exceeds 50% of the first choice votes, the state then tallies the results of the ranked choices – removing the last runner-up and moving those votes to the voters’ second choices. If, after one round of tabulation, there is still no winner, the third is dropped and the same vote change process takes place.
Peltola first won the House seat when a similar scenario unfolded in the August special election to fill the remaining months of the term of the late Rep. Don Young, a Republican who died in March after representing Alaska in the House for 49 years.
Presenting herself as a supporter of abortion rights and an advocate for salmon fishing, Peltola emerged victorious in the August special election after securing just 40% of the votes for first place. This time she has a bigger share, while Palin and Begich’s support has dwindled.
The home run highlighted the unusual alliances in Alaskan politics. Although Peltola is a Democrat, she is also close to Palin — whose term as governor coincided with Peltola’s time as a state legislator in Juneau. The two warmly welcomed each other. Palin criticized the ranked voting system. But she never targeted Peltola in personal terms.
Republicans in the race, Palin and Begich, both urged voters to “rank red” and put the two GOP contenders first and second.
But Peltola had quickly won over many in the state after her special election win — in part because she has deep relationships with a number of Republicans.
Peltola told CNN in an interview that she and Palin bonded over Juneau because they were new mothers, and that Palin’s family gave Peltola’s family her backyard trampoline when Palin resigned from the governor’s office.
At a Federation of Alaska Native candidates forum in October, Palin praised Peltola effusively.
“Doggone, I never have anything to complain about. I just wish she would convert to the other part. But other than that, love her,” Palin said of Peltola.
Peltola’s family was also close to the late Young’s family. Peltola and Young’s father had taught together decades ago and were chasing buddies, Peltola said in an interview.
In the race for the Alaska Senate seat, Murkowski, a moderate Republican, was targeted by former President Donald Trump after voting to convict him during his impeachment trial following the January 6 attack. 2021 against the US Capitol. Murkowski also broke with Trump on a number of key votes during his presidency.
Trump endorsed Tshibaka and a group of former Trump campaign officials worked on his campaign. She was also endorsed by the Alaska Republican Party, which chose to back the most conservative candidate in a state that Trump won by 10 percentage points in 2020.
But Murkowski had built a broad coalition in a state where political alliances are often more complicated than it seems. She and Peltola had publicly declared that they would rank first in their elections.
Chesbro, the Democrat, was among four candidates who ran in the general election. Republican Buzz Kelley also advanced, but gave up and urged his supporters to vote for Tshibaka.