Lisa Murkowski and Mary Peltola win Alaska race, beat Trump-backed opponent


Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola became the first Alaska Native to win a full term in Congress on Wednesday, joining Republican senators for re-election. Lisa Murkowski defeated a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump after state officials completed the final round of counting.

Peltola and Murkowski made history by winning the special election in August, with Murkowski leading after an earlier count. But the victory for centrist lawmakers was not assured until Wednesday, when the Alaska Department of Elections redistributed votes based on the state’s new ranked-choice voting system.

The Alaskans offered her a “two-year deal,” Pertola told reporters Wednesday night at a victory party at the brewery in downtown Anchorage.

“I would love to work for Alaskans again, as long as they accept me,” she said. She added that her victory showed Alaskans “wholeheartedly embrace nonpartisanship and working together.”

In the gubernatorial race, Republican Mike Dunleavy won reelection with more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding the rank selection process.

Peltola and Murkowski supported each other across party lines ahead of the election, forming a coalition rooted in the similar spaces they occupy in the political landscape. Their victory caps an election season in which voters across the country tend to show their preference for the incumbent on the battlefield.

“I’m honored that Alaskans — from all regions, backgrounds and affiliations — have given me the confidence to continue working with them and representing them in the U.S. Senate,” Murkowski said in a statement Wednesday night. said the statement. “I look forward to continuing the important work that lies ahead of us.”

The result marks another blow to Trump in this year’s midterm elections. Many candidates linked to the former president and his polarizing stance have lost battleground competition, and his overall record has been mixed in competitive races for his support. The list includes former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, who challenged Pertola with Trump’s endorsement, and Republican Kelly, a former state and federal official who ran against Murkowski with the former president’s endorsement. Zibaka.

After the final round of ranked-choice voting, Murkowski took 53.7 percent of the vote to Tshibaka’s 46.3 percent. In the House race, Pertola got 55 percent of the vote to Palin’s 45 percent.

Peltola ran a locally-focused campaign on a traditional and unconventional Democratic platform — she boasted of her support for abortion rights and her “pro-fish” views, as well as her support for new Alaska oil projects and big gun collection She and her family maintain.

Peltola’s win secured her first full two-year term on Capitol Hill and temporarily filled her state’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after winning in August — a seat that came after a longtime Republican representative suddenly Vacant after death. Tang Yang. Petola also defeated Palin in that race to become the first Alaska Native member of Congress and the state’s first woman to fill the seat.

Peltola is the first Democrat elected to the Alaska Congress since 2008, when Mark Begich unseated the Republican senator. Ted Stevens comes just months after Stevens was indicted for allegedly making false statements about his financial disclosures.

Meanwhile, Murkowski will soon begin her career after being appointed to the Senate by her father, then-newly elected Gov. Frank Murkowski, in 2002. Fourth six-year term in the Senate. Her campaign has highlighted her work to bring infrastructure money to Alaska, her support for the state’s oil and fishing industries, and her close ties to Alaska Native constituencies.

Trump has long vowed to remove the senator, predicting in 2018 that she would “never recover” politically after she voted against one of his Supreme Court nominees, Brett M. Kavanaugh ( Brett M. Kavanaugh). Zibaka joined Trump at a rally at the Anchorage Arena in July.

Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, also appeared alongside Trump in July. She lost both the special election and the general election after parting ways with Nick Begich III, a Republican from a prominent Alaska Democratic family. (Begich, the nephew of Mark Begich and grandson of Nick Begich Sr., held Alaska’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives before a plane carrying him across the state disappeared in 1972.)

Jim Lotzfeldt, a centrist political consultant who works with pro-Murkowski and pro-Petola super PACs, said he wasn’t sure Trump’s support provided Palin and Zibacca a lot of help. Alaska is small enough that many people who follow politics judge candidates based on personal interactions, he said.

“We all have these opinions, and those opinions are gained by looking someone in the eye,” Lotzfeldt said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Donald Trump is not going to tell me anything about Sarah Palin that I don’t already know.”

In this year’s election, Alaska’s first under the state’s new voting framework, residents narrowly won approval in the 2020 Citizenship Initiative, which is partially funded and run by Murkowski allies. The system revolutionized primary elections by eliminating partisan competition and advancing the top four finishers from a single open ballot to the general election.

In general elections, voters can rank candidates according to their preferences. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and the votes of that candidate’s supporters are redistributed to their next choice. The process repeats until two candidates remain and a winner is declared.

Some Alaska conservatives, led by Palin, have slammed the new system as complex and untrustworthy, even though there have been no technical problems or evidence of foul play. At an event last week, the former governor was the first to sign a new petition to repeal the system.

The repeal movement may face an uphill battle. One avenue for critics is the abolition of the Alaska legislature — many seats will now be filled by candidates who won the race this year, at least in part because of the new voting process.

Residents can also abolish the system through citizen initiatives. But polls of supporters released after the August primaries showed more than 60 percent of Alaskans agreed.

Even if the new electoral system remains in place, Pertola’s allies expect her to face a tough Republican challenge when her term expires in two years.

A big boost for Pertola this year has been a national Democratic network that helped her raise more than $5.5 million by mid-October — $1.7 million raised by Palin and $1.7 million by Begich More than three times his $1.6 million campaign contribution.

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