Democrat Mary Peltola is set to make history as the first Alaska Native in Congress – while thwarting the attempted political comeback of former Gov. Sarah Palin – by winning a special House election, according to unofficial ranked-choice voting results released Wednesday by the state Division of Elections.
Her unlikely bid for the House was unique to Alaska, where political relationships span decades and voters who have elected independents and write-in candidates to major offices have what Peltola calls a “libertarian bent” that at times defies the partisan label the state has earned by voting consistently for Republican presidential candidates.
She has a warm relationship with Palin, who once gave her family’s backyard trampoline to Peltola’s family, and she once spent Thanksgiving with the late Rep. Don Young, an old teaching colleague and hunting buddy of her father’s whose former seat she and Palin sought to fill for the remainder of 2022. Young died in March after representing Alaska in the House for 49 years.
Despite Peltola’s victory on Wednesday, she and Palin will face off again in November to fill the state’s lone House seat for the next full term.