Mary Peltola wins bid for full term in House for Alaska

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaskan Democrat and the first Alaskan-born woman to serve in Congress, won a full term in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press, holding off three conservative challengers.

Ms. Peltola first won the seat in a special election in August to end the term of Congressman Don Young, a Republican who died in March. Her victory, which turned the seat over for the Democrats for the first time in 50 years, was seen as an uproar against Ms Palin.

With her recent success, Ms. Peltola has secured a full two-year term as sole representative for the state of Alaska. The loss for Republicans in the state ensures they will hold 220 seats in the House — a razor-thin margin with just two races left — when leaders had hoped to fill that majority with as many additional seats as possible.

Ms. Peltola defeated two of her Republican special-election rivals — Sarah Palin, the former governor and vice-presidential nominee, and Nick Begich III, who is part of a prominent Liberal political family in Alaska — as well as Chris Bye, a libertarian.

State law allows mail-in ballots to be counted up to 15 days after Election Day if they are postmarked by then and mailed from outside the United States. election officials decided to wait to tabulate the rounds of the ranked election until all ballots have been counted.

Since neither candidate appeared to have received more than 50 percent of the vote by Nov. 23 — 15 days after Election Day — Alaska election officials tabulated the next round of voting once all the ballots were tallied.

While Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich split the conservative vote, Ms. Peltola assembled a coalition of Democrats, centrists and Alaska Natives behind her pro-family, pro-fish platform. A Democrat had not held the seat for half a century since Mr. Young defeated Mr. Begich’s grandfather, who was a Democrat.

Ms Peltola sought to highlight her cross-party credentials and was often open about her friendship with Ms Palin during the campaign. With just a few seats determining which party controls the House of Representatives, it could potentially play a pivotal role should Republicans attempt to win over Democrat votes for must-pass legislation and any efforts to authorize bipartisan measures.

While Ms. Peltola did not take office until September, just before the midterm elections, she quickly took over pushing legislation introduced by Mr. Young and hired several Republican associates on his staff.

Ms. Peltola has also joined forces with her state’s two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, to pressure the Biden administration to reconsider a major drilling project in Alaska and ensuring more federal assistance was given to the state after the remnants of a typhoon damaged some communities.

She received an emotional and warm welcome at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention last month, where attendees waved cut-outs of her face in support of her candidacy. Mr. Young’s family was also supportive and they did an ad for her, giving her one of his signature bolo ties as a gift. Mary Peltola wins bid for full term in House for Alaska

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