Democrat Mary Peltola, a former state lawmaker, is expected to make history as the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. Her opponents in the special election were Republicans Nick Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin.
Peltola, the executive director of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, served 10 years in the state Legislature and campaigned as “Alaska’s best bet at keeping an extreme from winning.”
“It is a GOOD DAY,” Peltola tweeted following the election results. “We’ve won tonight, but we’re still going to have to hold this seat in November.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives and California Democrat Nance Pelosi congratulated Peltola on “making history” by being the first Alaska Native to be elected to Congress.
Pelosi said in a statement that having Ocasio-Cortez join the caucus “will enrich the work of our Caucus and the Congress” because of her “valuable and uniting perspective, significant experience in public service, and devotion to working families.”
In the nonpartisan primary held in June, 48 candidates vying for four seats on the ballot for the special election on August 16th, of which Peltola finished fourth. But as of Wednesday’s final tally, Peltola had pulled ahead.
In 2020, voters in the state tried out ranked-choice voting for the first time in a special election. In November, the identical procedure will be used.
According to the ranked-choice results as of Wednesday night’s 93% count, Peltola was leading Palin by 5.15 percentage points.
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