Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Palin loses election for Alaska House seat to Democratic Rep. Peltola, ending comeback, NBC projects

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Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Sarah Palin talks with reporters near the corner of Seward Highway and Northern Lights Boulevard on U.S. election night, in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S. November 8, 2022. 

Kerry Tasker | Reuters

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the only Republican woman ever to be nominated for vice president, was defeated in her political comeback bid to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives, NBC News projected Wednesday night.

Palin’s loss to Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat, was her second defeat in an election for Alaska’s at-large House seat in less than three months.

The race took weeks to be called because the winner was determined by Alaska’s new ranked choice voting system.

In late August, Peltola beat Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich, in a special election for the seat. It was left vacant by the March death of GOP Rep. Don Young, who had held office for nearly a half-century.

Peltola, a former state representative, became the first Alaska Native in Congress.

But she immediately faced a rematch against Palin and Begich in the election for a full two-year term.

Peltola finished fourth in a nonpartisan primary in June.

In mid-August, none of the remaining three candidates in the special election received more than 50% of the vote. The winner then was determined by a ranked-choice voting system that was approved by state voters two years before.

Palin griped about the ranked-choice system after her first loss, calling its adoption a “mistake.” But Begich said “ranked-choice voting showed that a vote for Sarah Palin is in reality a vote for Mary Peltola.”

“Palin simply doesn’t have enough support from Alaskans to win an election,” Begich said at the time.

The late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona tapped Palin to be his running mate in his 2008 presidential race against the Democratic nominee and eventual winner, Barack Obama, and his running mate Joe Biden, who was elected president himself two years ago.

Palin resigned as governor of Alaska in July 2009, less than a year after the presidential election loss, saying ethics complaints against her threatened to bog down the state.

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