JUNEAU, Alaska — U.S. Representative Mary Peltola has been elected to a full term in the House months after the Alaska Democrat won a special election for the seat following the death earlier this year of longtime Republican Representative Don Young.
Peltola defeated Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, as well as libertarian Chris Bye in the November 8 election. The results of the ranked choice election were announced on Wednesday. Palin and Begich were also candidates in the special election.
“It’s a two-year contract,” Peltola told the Anchorage Daily News after her win — a 55%-45% margin over Palin in the final round of the table — was announced. “I’ll gladly work for Alaskans again, as long as they have me.”
Peltola, who is Yup’ik, became the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress and the first woman to hold Alaska’s House seat with her August victory. The win also boosted its fundraising efforts, surpassing those of its rivals ahead of this month’s election.
Messages were sent to Palin’s campaign on Wednesday.
Begich congratulated Peltola in a statement, adding: “Our country faces a number of challenges in the coming years and our representatives will need wisdom and discernment as they work to put America on a healthier path. My message to the people of Alaska is to continue to be engaged and engaged.”
Peltola embraced Young’s legacy as she sought the two-year term and was supported by his daughters, one of whom presented her with a bolo tie from Young at an Alaska Federation of Natives conference where Peltola was treated like a rock star. Young held the chair for 49 years.
“Now I’m a real congressman for all of Alaska,” she said. That’s what Young often called himself. Peltola has described his legacy as a bipartisan legacy and building support for Alaska’s interests in Congress.
Peltola was a state legislator from the small rural community of Bethel for 10 years, ending in 2009. She surprised many with her fourth-place finish in the June special primary, in which she emerged from a field of 48 candidates, including current state and local office holders . That finish was enough to send her into the special pageant.
During the campaign, she set herself up as a coalition builder, emphasizing a desire for more politeness in politics and trying to stay out of the sniping between Palin and Begich. Peltola, who recently worked for a committee that aims to rebuild salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, expressed concern about ocean productivity and cited the need to preserve the struggling fishery.
She also emphasized her support for abortion rights.
Speaking in October, she spoke of the need for unity, complaining that what she said has become ubiquitous messages in politics “about hatred and fear and self-pity. And yes, those resonate, those are compelling motivators. But they are destructive.” they are sour, they tear us down.”
She said her priorities for the new term included commission assignments and “working really hard to lower our inflation numbers, lower our shipping costs, lower costs for working families and all Alaskan households.”