Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola won a full two-year term to represent Alaska in the House, NBC News predicted Wednesday, defeating former governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Peltola made history in August when she became the first Alaskan to sit in Congress after winning the special election to replace longtime GOP Rep. Don Young, who died in March at the age of 88.
Shortly after news broke that she had won a full term on Wednesday night, Peltola tweeted “WE DID IT!!!”
The result of the November 8 election for the seat in the state’s big house — as well as other contests, including for the Senate — had been delayed for weeks due to Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference.
After the first round of voting, Peltola led Palin by more than 20 percentage points, with Republican Nick Begich, a scion of one of Alaska’s best-known political families, in third place.
But because Peltola failed to win more than 50 percent, the vote went to a runoff with Begich eliminated and his votes redistributed to those voters’ second pick.
Begich and Palin also entered the August special election, making this match a three-way rematch.
Peltola’s victory is a blow to GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans, who won a razor-thin majority in this month’s midterm elections. It means a Democrat will hold the seat of the Great House for the next two years, after Young and the GOP controlled it for nearly five decades.
Young took over the seat in 1973 after Democratic Representative Nick Begich, the grandfather of this year’s nominee of the same name, was presumed killed in a plane crash.
Even before the race was declared, Palin, the running mate of the late Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, announced that she would first person to sign a new ballot initiative to repeal Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system.
In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski was re-elected Wednesday after rounds of the rankings, fending off a GOP challenger backed by former President Donald Trump.