Peltola Wins Full Term, Again Defeating Palin

'Now, I'm a real congressman for all Alaska,' Democrat says in homage to Don Young
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 23, 2022 8:25 PM CST
With Election to Full Term, Peltola Again Tops Palin
Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai shows the ranked choice tabulation for the US House race Wednesday in Juneau.   (Mark Sabbatini/The Juneau Empire via AP)

US Rep. Mary Peltola has been elected to a full term in the House, months after the Alaska Democrat won a special election to the seat following the death this year of longtime Republican Rep. Don Young. Peltola defeated Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye in the Nov. 8 election. Results of the ranked choice election were announced late Wednesday, the AP reports. Palin and Begich also were candidates in the special election. Peltola, who is Yup'ik, with her win in August became the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress and the first woman to hold Alaska's House seat.

The August win also buoyed her fundraising, outpacing her rivals in the lead-up to this month's election. Peltola embraced Young's legacy as she sought the two-year term and was endorsed by his daughters, one of whom presented her with a bolo tie of Young's at an Alaska Federation of Natives conference where Peltola was treated like a rock star. Young held the seat for 49 years. "Now, I'm a real congressman for all Alaska," she said; Young often referred to himself that way. Peltola has described his legacy as one of bipartisanship and building support for Alaska interests in Congress.

During the campaign, she cast herself as a coalition builder, emphasized a desire for more civility in politics and sought to stay out of the sniping between Palin and Begich. Peltola, who most recently worked for a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, raised concerns with ocean productivity and cited a need to preserve struggling fisheries. She also stressed her support of abortion rights. The House race was Palin's attempt at a comeback, per the Hill, after resigning the Alaska governorship and being on the late Sen. John McCain's 2008 losing presidential ticket. On Wednesday night, Peltola posted a celebratory "WE DID IT!!!" tweet, along with an animated video of crabs dancing.

(More Mary Peltola stories.)

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