A special election to fill Alaska’s At-Large Congressional District in the U.S. House was held on Aug. 16. Sarah Palin (R), Nicholas Begich III (R), and Mary Peltola (D) ran. Al Gross (I) also advanced from the June 11 top-four primary, but he withdrew from the race on June 20.
This election will use ranked-choice voting. Alaska Beacon reported that election officials will not begin ranked-choice tabulation until at least Aug. 31, the deadline for ballots to arrive and be counted in the special election. As of 1:00 a.m. ET on August 17, Mary Peltola (D) had 37.2% of first-choice votes, followed by Sarah Palin (R) with 32.8% and Nicholas Begich (R) with 28.7%.
Former Rep. Don Young (R) died in March.
Begich founded a technology development company and co-founded a company that invests in startups. He co-chaired the Alaska Republican Party Finance Committee and Young’s 2020 re-election campaign. Begich entered the regular U.S. House primary election before Young’s death. Begich campaigned on his business background, saying he could “make the business case for Alaska effectively down in D.C.”
Palin served as governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009 and was John McCain’s (R) vice presidential running mate in 2008. Palin campaigned on her record as governor, which she said included taking “meaningful steps toward energy independence, passing bipartisan ethics reform, and facilitating the biggest private sector infrastructure project in U.S. history.” Palin said after Young’s death, “As I’ve watched the far left destroy the country, I knew I had to step up and join the fight.”
Peltola served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009 and was interim executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission as of the special election. Peltola said she was a “[p]roven legislative leader and coalition builder.” She emphasized her background in fishing and made marine resource management a key campaign issue. Peltola also highlighted that she is an Alaska Native woman and said, “Our elected officials have not been representative of our state.”
In 2020, voters in Alaska passed Ballot Measure 2 in a 50.55%-49.45% vote. The measure established open top-four primaries for state executive, state legislative, and congressional offices and ranked-choice voting for general elections.
In addition to the special election, Alaska is holding a separate regularly scheduled election for the U.S. House.