Alaska’s Deep-Red Seat Just Turned Blue

David Shankbone

Congressional hopeful and former Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin, lost her bid to fill Alaska’s sole seat in congress by a three-point margin Wednesday, flipping the seat from red to blue.

The special election held Aug. 14. to fill the remainder of longstanding Republican Rep. Don Young’s term after he died in March had three candidates Palin (R), Nick Begich III (R) and Mary Peltola (D).

Peltola is the first Alaskan Native to represent the state and the first woman to hold the seat. However, she will face re-election Nov. 8th and will face Palin, Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye for a full two-year congressional term.

Palin expressed disappointment at the loss but made it plain she was ready to continue the fight.

“Though we’re disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last one who’ll ever retreat. Instead, I’m going to reload,” Ms. Palin said in a statement. But she also blamed the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for her defeat, knocking it as convoluted and confusing.

During a 2020 initiative, the state adopted a ranked-choice voting system. It allowed Alaskans to list the three special-election candidates in order of preference on the ballot regardless of party. Under the new system, if no candidate wins 50% of the first-choice votes, the weakest candidate is eliminated and the second-choice votes on those ballots are distributed to the remaining candidates, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Election officials announced Peltola won 51.47% of the vote and Palin 48.53% Wednesday.

Watch: Clint Curtis explains some of the modern-day voting systems.