Sarah Palin First Place Loser In Alaska US House Special Election
Sarah Palin’s political career is finally over, for the second time.
Wednesday afternoon, Cook Political Editor Dave Wasserman saw enough and declared Democrat Mary Peltola the winner of the special election to fill the late Rep. Don Young’s term. Young, a Republican, had held the seat since March 1973, just a few months before Peltola was born. Wednesday was also Peltola’s 49th birthday, so a good day all around.
From the Washington Post:
“It is overwhelming. And it’s a very good feeling. I’m very grateful Alaskans have put their trust in me,” Peltola said in an interview with The Washington Post shortly after her victory at the office of her campaign consultants, where she had to break away in the middle of the conversation to take a call from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “I will be immediately going to work.”
Peltola is scheduled to join the House on September 13.
How did Peltola pull off the upset? She served in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years without collecting a single ethics charge. Also, Sarah Palin sucks and most Alaskans realize she’s a useless flake. Peltola completed multiple terms in the House, while Palin bailed before the end of her first term as governor, presumably to pursue a career in “Masked Singer” performances.
Donald Trump endorsed Palin and campaigned for her, but it wasn’t enough to make people forget she’s Sarah Palin. Once the race was called, Palin defiantly announced she’s not about to quit losing.
PALIN: Though we're disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I'm the last one who'll ever retreat.
She literally retreated from the governor’s mansion in 2009.
PALIN: Instead, I'm going to reload. With optimism that Alaskans learn from this voting system mistake and correct it in the next election, let's work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November.
Peltola beat Palin outright in the first round of voting by about 13,000 votes.
But Palin isn’t the only Republican who blamed Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system for potentially costing Republicans a seat they considered rightfully theirs, voters be damned. The day after the primary, Sen. Tom Cotton from Arkansas tweeted: "More than 60 percent of Alaskans voted for a Republican to represent them in the House of Representatives. But thanks to ranked-choice voting, a Democrat could still win. Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections."
Cotton really hates ranked-choice voting. Last summer, while observing the New York City elections, he declared it a “corrupt scam.” Like a grumpy old man refusing to use Apple Pay, he said ranked-choice voting was "confusing, complicated, and it's ripe for fraud.” The cantankerous senator went on: "How can anyone trust that a voter's fourth-place choice was accurately tabulated on the eighth round of ranking?” Oh no, poor Tom Cotton can’t trust anything anymore!
You’d think a charmless cretin like Cotton would appreciate a ranked-choice selection process. When he went on dates, did he really think he was the woman’s first or even second choice? Maybe Cotton realizes that Democrats would probably have won the presidency in 2000 and 2016 if key swing states had a ranked-choice voting system. However, Peltola straight-up defeated the other candidates outright in the first pass. Ranked-choice voting is what gave Palin a shot at victory, which she blew because she sucks.
Republican Nick Begich was the first candidate eliminated after no other candidate exceeded the necessary 50 percent threshold. During the instant runoff, Palin needed roughly 70 percent of Begich’s voters to rank her as their second choice, but only half of them did so before the ballots were exhausted. This was probably because Alaskans are exhausted with Palin and her antics.
(Just kidding: The "exhausted" ballots mean a voter didn't make a second choice.)
Peltola ultimately defeated Palin 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. Wasserman notes that while this is a huge victory for Democrats (who can use every seat they get), this is more reflective of "Palin's unpopularity than (a) national trend.” However, Peltola made a point of stressing that she was the only candidate who supports abortion rights, a key issue post-Dobbs.
Peltola, a member of the Yup'ik people, will be the first woman to hold Alaska’s only US House seat. She will face Palin and Republican Nick Begich again in the November general election, but she’ll do so as the incumbent sitting Congress member.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."