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Mary Peltola Becomes First Native Alaskan To Sit In Congress

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Democrat Mary Peltola now occupies Alaska’s only U.S. House of Representatives seat, beating Republican Sarah Palin.

On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, the votes from the special election determined that Democrat Mary Peltola will become Alaska’s sole U.S Representative for the last few months of 2022.

Running against Peltola was the 9th governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Palin has long been involved in the government and ran for Vice President in 2008. Palin also has the backing of former President Trump, who publicly endorsed her.

Not only will Peltola be the first Native Alaska to take a seat in the House, but she will also be the first woman to sit in it. The special election started after the passing of Don Younge in March. Younge held a position in Congress for 49 years.

While Peltola will only keep this role for the remainder of the year, elections for the full two-year term begin November 8. Peltola, along with Palin and another candidate Nick Begich of the Republican party, will run for this spot in the House.

Peltola advertises by relating to most people in her state, saying she is “the only candidate in this race who isn’t a multi-millionaire.” Peltola supports abortion rights, aims to protect the ocean, and values collaboration and positivity.

This ballot was the first election that used the newly introduced ranking system. In 2020, Alaskans voted for this change which causes a candidate to need 50% or more to win.

The ranking election works by citizens ranking their choices of candidates in order. Interestingly, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the votes in the first round, they can win. However, there are often multiple rounds, and whoever receives the least votes is eliminated from the race. The elimination process happens until there is a winner.

“Image from Mary Peltola social media”