() — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Rep. Mary Peltola (D) will keep their seats in the next Congress after the state’s election authority announced the results of its ranked-choice vote from the midterm.
In Alaska, voters rank the candidates one through four. If no candidate wins at least 50% of the vote, the lowest-performing candidate is removed from consideration. The state will count the second place votes of anyone who voted for the removed candidate. The process continues until someone reaches a majority.
The state allows multiple candidates from different parties on its final ballot. Murkowski’s biggest threat came from another Republican, Kelly Tshibaka.
Murkowski won 135,972 votes to Tshibaka’s 117,299 after the ranked choice votes were redistributed. Before the ranked choice runoff, Decision Desk HQ projected Murkowski or Tshibaka would win, meaning the seat was expected to stay in Republican hands.
Former President Donald Trump has been a clear dividing line between the two Republicans. Murkowski voted to impeach him in 2021 after the Jan. 6 riot, while Trump endorsed Tshibaka in the 2022 midterm.
In the House race, Peltola defeated former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin 136,893 to 112,225.
The race marked Alaska politician and 2008 Republican nominee for vice president Sarah Palin’s second chance at the same seat she lost to Democrat Mary Peltola in a special election earlier this year. Stakes were also high for incumbent Peltola, who is the first Alaska Native to be elected to Congress.
The candidates battled it out for the second time after a special election to determine who would finish the late Rep. Don Young’s remaining term sent Peltola to Washington, D.C. Young held Alaska’s only U.S. House seat for 49 years. He died in March.
The other two candidates vying for the House seat were Republican Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye. Begich’s grandfather, the late U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, a Democrat, held the seat before Young.
Palin has railed against Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system, approved by voters in 2020 as part of an elections overhaul.
In an opinion piece published late last month by the Anchorage Daily News, Palin said the system had “produced the travesty of sending a Democrat to Congress to represent Alaska, one of the reddest states in the country.”
Overall, however, Palin and Peltola have been cordial to one another throughout the campaigns and during debates. Peltola’s time in the state House overlapped with Palin’s time as governor of the state and Peltola has praised Palin’s willingness to work across party lines when she was in the governor’s mansion.
The state review board still needs to certify the results. That’s expected to happen Nov. 29.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.