After Alaska voters’ second and third choices were tabulated under the state’s ranked-choice voting system, Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is expected to serve one full term in Congress after defeating Republican challenger Sarah Palin.
Peltola earned 136,893 votes, a 54.9 percent share, 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 (R): 112,255 (45.1%)
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 24, 2022
Alaska’s Divison of Elections tabulated voters’ second and third choices on Wednesday, which solidified Peltola’s victory.
As Breitbart News explained:
All candidates from all parties appear on the ballot together in the August primary. The top four vote-getters regardless of party then advance to the general election, and their voters are given the opportunity to pick their top choice, as well as their second and third choices. If no candidate in the first round of voters’ first choices gets 50 percent of the vote, the last place candidate’s second choices are distributed across the remaining three candidates to see if someone can get across the majority threshold. If that fails again to produce a majority vote-getter, then a third round is conducted where the third place candidate’s votes are redistributed according to second choices between the remaining two candidates.
The outcome might have been different if Palin was not vying for Republican votes with fellow GOP candidate Nick Begich.
“As Republicans turned on one or another, it allowed [Peltola] to stay above the fray and to talk about issues and, again, to define herself as she wanted,” political consultant Matt Shuckerow said.
Palin is on record opposing the ranked-choice voting system. “I do not believe in this system. It should not be embraced by enthusiastic participation when we know it’s not right,” Palin said.
Peltola joined Congress in September after defeating Palin in Begich in a special election held to fill deceased Rep. Don Young’s (R) spot in Congress as Alaska’s lone representative.
Peltola ran on a “pro-fish, pro-family, pro-freedom” platform that focused on civility instead of criticizing her two Republican opponents.
Peltola will join the House Democrats minority, but her victory brings the Democrats’ total seat count up to 213.
Alaska’s Division of Elections plans to certify the election results next week on November 29.