Mary Peltola (D) wins special U.S. House election in Alaska

Mary Peltola (D) won the Aug. 16 special U.S. House election in Alaska, according to results released Aug. 31. In the final round of unofficial ranked-choice voting tabulation, Peltola had 51.5% of the vote to Sarah Palin’s (R) 48.5%. This election fills the term ending Jan. 3, 2023.

Before ranked-choice tabulation began, Peltola had 40% of first-choice votes, followed by Palin with 31% and Nick Begich III (R) with 28%. Write-in candidates received a combined 1.6% of the vote.

Write-in candidates were eliminated first as a batch. Then Begich was eliminated. The votes of those who chose eliminated candidates as first choices were redistributed to the voters’ second-choice candidates if they chose such.

Peltola will be Alaska’s first Democratic U.S. representative since Nick Begich Sr.—Nick Begich III’s grandfather. Begich Sr.’s plane went missing while he was in office in 1972. Don Young (R) won a special election to succeed Begich. Young served until his death in March of this year.

Peltola, Palin, and Begich will meet again in the regularly scheduled general election for U.S. House on Nov. 8. That election will also use ranked-choice voting.

Alaska holds top-four primaries. Independent Al Gross also advanced from the special primary election in June having placed third, but Gross withdrew from the race.

As of September 2022, 14 special elections have been held for the 117th Congress, and there are three upcoming special elections scheduled to take place.

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