February 23, 2024

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Special Election in Alaska | Democrat Mary Beltola has a lead over Sarah Palin

Special Election in Alaska |  Democrat Mary Beltola has a lead over Sarah Palin

Democrat Mary Beltola has won a byelection for Alaska’s only House of Representatives seat, defeating candidates including Republican Sarah Palin, who wants to return to politics in the state where she was governor.

Published at 10:52 pm yesterday.

Becky Borer
Associated Press

Mme Beltola, who is from Yupik and turned 49 on Wednesday, is the first Alaska Native to serve in the House of Representatives and the first woman to hold that seat. He will be in the last months of the late Republican Rep. Dan Young’s term. Mr. Young held the seat for 49 years before his death in March.

M win.me Beltola, Alaska’s first statewide election, was a boon for Democrats, especially after better-than-expected results in this year’s statewide midterms following the overturning of the ruling. Roe v. Wade By the Supreme Court. He is the first Democrat to hold the seat since the late U.S. Rep. Nick Begich ran for re-election in 1972 when his plane disappeared. Mr Begich was later declared dead and Don Young was elected to the position in 1973.

Mme Beltola presented himself as a coalition organizer, while his two Republican opponents—Mme Pauline and Nick Begich’s grandson, also named Nick Begich – clashed from time to time. Mme Palin also spoke out against the voting system established by voters in Alaska.

Photo by Shelby Dauber, Reuters Archives

Republican Sarah Palin

The results fell 15 days after the Aug. 16 election, a deadline for state election officials to receive mail-in ballots sent from outside the United States. With no candidate getting more than 50% of the first preference votes, the counting of preference votes took place on Wednesday. Mr. Beltola was present during the counting of votes.

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Wednesday’s results were disappointingme When John McCain chose her as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election, Palin, who attempted to make a political comeback after 14 years on the national stage, gained widespread name recognition and the support of former President Donald Trump. .

Commitment is a question

But critics questioned his commitment to Alaska, citing his decision in July 2009 to step down as governor halfway through his term. Mme Palin later became a conservative television commentator and appeared on reality shows.

Just because Sarah Palin lost this midterm election doesn’t mean she lost her chance to win a seat in the House of Representatives. With Mme Beltola and Mr. Begich is one of the candidates running for a full two-year term to be decided in the November general election.

Mme Palin has insisted her commitment to Alaska has never changed and said ahead of the midterms that she is “committed for the long haul.”

A “normal” Alaskan win

Mme Beltola, a former state legislator who recently worked for a commission to restore salmon stocks on the Kuskokwim River, describes himself as a “typical” Alaskan. “I am not a millionaire. I am not an international celebrity,” he said.

Mme Beltola said he hoped the new system would allow more moderate candidates to be elected.

“I hope voters can vote according to their hearts and not be pressured to vote for the candidate they think is the most ‘doable’,” said Ms.me Beltola before the by-election. And my hope is that we will move away from radical types of candidates and politicians. »

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During the campaign, she underlined her support for abortion rights and said she wanted to push issues of ocean production and food security forward. Mme Beltola said he was encouraged after the special contests in June when he received support from Democrats and independents who contested the race. He believes his positive message also resonated with voters.

Photo by Becky Bohrer, Associated Press Archives

Mary Beltola

Many were deeply moved by the message of cooperation, positivity, mutual support and unity, and that as Americans, none of us is the enemy of another. This is the message people need to hear now.

Mary Beltola

In 2020 voters in Alaska approved an election process that changed party primaries to open primaries. Under this new system, ranked-choice voting is used for general elections.

Votes are counted in rounds. A candidate can win by getting more than 50% of the votes in the first round. If no one reaches this threshold, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. The votes of voters who chose this candidate as their first choice will be counted towards the next choice. Rounds continue until two candidates remain and the one with the most votes wins.

In Alaska, voters last supported a Democrat for president in 1964. But the state also has a history of rewarding independent candidates. The state has more registered unaffiliated voters than registered Republicans or Democrats.