Alaska Democrat Mary Peltola was declared the winner of the nation's first ranked-choice voting contest on Wednesday night and will fill the Last Frontier's lone seat in the United States House of Representatives. Let’s watch Congress reporter Jack Fitzpatrick of Bloomberg News explain how the special election worked and the possible repercussions of its results.
Although the actual election took place on Aug. 16, results weren't reported until Aug. 31 because of Alaska’s new system of ranked-choice voting.
Peltola, a former state legislator, will become Alaska’s first indigenous member of Congress, after defeating Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich III in the special election. She finished first in the initial tally and then won enough second-choice votes from Begich’s supporters to surge past Palin.
Palin, who had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and previously won a statewide campaign in 2006, did not respond well to losing. Despite having agreed to the rules when she became a candidate on April 1st, Palin bewailed that ranked choice voting was unfair because she lost.
"When it comes down to second and third-place votes, that's gonna decide who's gonna win? Really?" she remarked.
Palin also grumbled about national Democratic leaders, despite their names not being on the ballot.
"Alaskans want Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi?" she asked of the president and Speaker of the House, both of whom are Democrats.
Due to it being a special election, Peltola will hold the seat only through the end of this Congress. Peltola, Palin, and Begich will square off again for a full two-year term in the general election on Nov. 8th.
Democrats have overperformed in special elections since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson in June. Other than Alaska, there have been four federal special elections since the June 24 decision, and Democrats did at least 6 points better than the partisan lean of the districts they ran in each election.