A Democrat has won a special election in Alaska to represent the state in the US House of Representatives, in a race that was widely seen as a test of the country’s new ranked-choice voting system. Ms Peltola win marks Alaska’s first test of its new ranked-choice voting system, wherein the top four voter recipients head to the general election. The White House also said that President Joe Biden congratulated her.
Former state legislator Mary Peltola became the first Democrat to represent Alaska in Congress in almost fifty years, beating former Republican governor Sarah Palin.
Ms Peltola, who was a state representative and whose mother was Yup’ik, will be the first Native Alaskan to represent the state since it became a state in 1959.
Alaska only has one congressional seat, which opened up earlier this year when Representative Don Young, who was the longest-serving Republican congressman, died. Mr Young himself won a special election back in 1973.
“Her perspective is valuable and unifying, she has deep experience in public service, and she is committed to working families,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement.
The President congratulated her on her win in the Alaska special election Wednesday. He told her that he is looking forward to working with her to lower costs for working families in Alaska. He also wished her a happy birthday.
The race in Alaska is good for Democrats, who won a seat in a special election in New York’s 19th district last week. It also shows how important it is to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v Jackson decision overturned Roe v Wade earlier this year. Ms Peltola ran mainly on protecting abortion rights as well as workers’ rights and fishing in the state.
In Alaska, the new ranked-choice voting system was used for the first time and Ms Peltola won. In this system, the people who got the most votes in the first election go on to the second election. In the second election, people can rank their choices of who they want to win, from first to fourth.
The process starts with all people voting for their first choice. The candidate with the least number of votes is then eliminated. For the people who voted for the eliminated candidate, their second choice now becomes their vote. This process repeats until one candidate has more than half of the votes.
Despite the Republican campaign to rank Mr Begich and Ms Palin as their top two choices, the Democrat still won.
Ms. Peltola will serve as Mr. Young’s replacement until January. She will then have to run for a full term against Ms. Palin and Nick Begich, along with Libertarian candidate Chris Bye.
In 2008, Sarah Palin became well-known when she was chosen as the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican party.
She became a hero to right-wing media when she ran for vice president, even though she accused Obama of “hanging out with terrorists” and made several mistakes that were closely watched.
She frequently appeared on Fox News and campaigned for conservative primary challengers. This included campaigning against her fellow Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski. She endorsed Tea Party challenger Joe Miller in the 2010 Republican primary.
Ms Palin was a precursor for President Donald Trump. She was the only former Republican presidential or vice presidential nominee to endorse Mr Trump in the 2016 GOP primary. Mr Trump endorsed Ms Palin’s congressional run fairly early and campaigned with her this year.
Fred Cole is a seasoned news reporter with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for some of the biggest news outlets in the country, including the Associated Press and CNN.