After the second and third choices of Alaska voters were tabulated according to the state’s ranked-choice voting system, Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will serve a full term in Congress after defeating Republican challenger Sarah Palin.
Peltola earned 136,893 votes, a share of 54.9 percent, compared to Palin’s 45.1 percent with 112,255 votes.
Rep. Mary Peltola’s (D) reelection in #AKAL is now ranked-choice official. Final round numbers:
Peltola (D): 136,893 (54.9%)
Palin (right): 112,255 (45.1%)
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 24, 2022
The Alaska Elections Department on Wednesday lined up voters’ second and third choices, solidifying Peltola’s victory.
As Breitbart News explained:
All candidates from all parties appear together on the ballot paper in the August primaries. The top four voters, regardless of party, then advance to the general election, and their voters get the chance to choose their first choice, as well as their second and third choices. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the first round of voters’ first choices, the last candidate’s second choices are split among the remaining three candidates to see if anyone can pass the majority threshold. If that again fails to produce a majority voter, a third round is held in which the votes of the third place candidate are redistributed according to the second choices between the remaining two candidates.
The outcome would have been different had Palin not been competing for Republican votes with fellow GOP candidate Nick Begich.
“When the Republicans turned against one or the other, it allowed [Peltola] to stay above the fray and talk about issues and, again, define herself as she wanted,” political consultant Matt Shuckerow said.
Palin is known for being against the system of ranking voting. “I don’t believe in this system. It shouldn’t be embraced by enthusiastic participation if we know it’s not right,” Palin said.
Peltola entered Congress in September after defeating Palin in Begich in a special election held to replace the late Rep. Don Young (R) in Congress as Alaska’s only representative.
Peltola ran on a “pro-fish, pro-family, pro-freedom” platform that focused on civility rather than criticizing her two Republican opponents.
Peltola will join the minority of the House Democrats, but her victory brings the total number of Democratic seats to 213.
The Alaska Elections Department plans to announce the election results next week, on November 29.