Murkowski wins Alaska Senate race and Palin denied political comeback in House contest
Contests in Alaska’s Senate, House, and gubernatorial races were called on Wednesday, more than two weeks after Election Day.
Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin lost her latest attempt at a political comeback, losing the race for Alaska’s at-large district to Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK). Peltola had previously won a congressional special election race over the summer to finish out the term of the late-Rep. Don Young (R), who died in March. She is the first Native Alaskan to serve in Congress.
“WE DID IT!!!” Peltola said in a tweet on Wednesday celebrating her victory. She defeated Palin by about 23,000 votes, or 54.9% to 45.1%.
In the state’s Senate race, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski fended off her Trump-endorsed opponent Kelly Tshibaka to win reelection to her seat.
The centrist Murkowski, who was first elected to the Senate 20 years ago, won the ranked-choice election with 53.7% of the vote to Tshibaka’s 46.3%.
“Thank you, Alaska,” Murkowski said in a tweet on Wednesday. “I am honored that Alaskans – of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations – have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”
Finally, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy was declared the winner in his reelection race against Democrat Les Gara and independent Bill Walker. Dunleavy prevailed by more than 50% of first choice votes.
In 2020, voters in Alaska approved a switch to a ranked-choice voting system. Under the new system, the top four finishers in the states open primary elections advance to the general election, where voters then rank those four candidates from first choice to fourth choice.
Ranked choice voting was used this year for the first time in the state’s electoral history.
After the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Palin was the first to sign a petition to repeal ranked-choice voting launched by the group Alaskans for Honest Government.