Murkowski and Peltola Beat Trump-backed Opponents in Alaska

Murkowski and Peltola Beat Trump-backed Opponents in Alaska: Rep. Mary Peltola became the first Alaska Native to win a full term in Congress on Wednesday. She and Sen. Lisa Murkowski both defeated challengers endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

Murkowski and Peltola beat opponents in Alaska who were backed by Trump

Rep. Mary Peltola became the first Alaska Native to win a full term in Congress on Wednesday. She and Sen. Lisa Murkowski both defeated rivals sponsored by former president Donald Trump. Peltola, who won a special election in August, and Murkowski, a 20-year senator, lead early vote counts. The centrist politicians’ victory was not clinched until Wednesday when the Alaska Division of Elections redistributed votes under ranked-choice voting.

Peltola told reporters at a victory party in downtown Anchorage that Alaskans gave her a “two-year contract.” As long as Alaskans want her, she’ll work for them again. Alaskans “wholeheartedly embrace nonpartisanship and working together,” she said. Mike Dunleavy avoided ranked-choice voting by winning reelection with over 50% of the vote.

Peltola and Murkowski endorsed each other across party lines since they share comparable political ground. Voters nationwide favored incumbents in battleground races.
Murkowski said she was honored that Alaskans of all areas, backgrounds, and parties re-elected her to the Senate. “I’m looking forward to the task ahead.”

Trump suffered another midterm defeat. Many candidates backed by the former president and his contentious beliefs lost in battleground states, and his overall success in difficult races was mixed. This list includes Sarah Palin, who ran against Peltola with Trump’s support, and Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who ran against Murkowski. Murkowski had 53.7% of the vote over Tshibaka’s 46.3%. Peltola won the House race with 55% against Palin’s 45%.

Peltola ran a regionally oriented campaign combining typical and unconventional Democratic platform planks. She promoted her support for abortion rights, “pro-fish” beliefs, a new Alaska oil project, and her family’s huge gun collection.

Peltola’s triumph ensures her first full two-year term on Capitol Hill and follows her August victory to temporarily fill her state’s only House seat vacated by Rep. Don Young’s death. Peltola beat Palin again, becoming the first Alaska Native and woman in Congress. Peltola is the only Democrat elected to Congress in Alaska since 2008 when Mark Begich ousted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens after Stevens was indicted for making false financial reports.

Murkowski was appointed to the Senate by her father, then-governor Frank Murkowski, in 2002. Her campaign stressed her work to bring infrastructure money to Alaska, support the oil and fishing industries, and close relationships with Alaska Natives.

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Murkowski and Peltola Beat Trump-backed Opponents in Alaska
Trump pledged to oust the senator, claiming in 2018 that she “will never recover” politically for voting against Brett M. Kavanaugh. Tshibaka attended Trump’s July Anchorage rally.

Palin appeared with Trump in July. She divided the conservative vote with Nick Begich III, a Republican from a renowned Alaska Democratic family. (Begich is the nephew of Mark Begich and grandson of Nick Begich Sr., who lost his U.S. House seat in 1972.)

A moderate political consultant who worked with pro-Murkowski and pro-Peltola super PACs doubts Trump’s support helped Palin and Tshibaka. Many Alaskans rate candidates based on personal interactions, he added. Lottsfeldt: “We all have opinions we’ve acquired by staring someone in the eye.” Trump won’t give me anything new on Palin.

This year’s elections were the first under Alaska’s new voting structure, which was adopted in a Murkowski-backed 2020 citizens’ initiative. The approach eliminated partisan races and advanced the top four vote-getters from a single ballot to the general election.

Voters rate candidates in the general election. If no candidate obtains a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed and their supporters’ votes are redistributed. Repeat until two candidates remain and a winner is chosen.

Palin and other Alaska conservatives have blasted the new system as difficult and untrustworthy, despite no technical faults or foul play. The former governor signed a petition to end the system last week. The repeal campaign may struggle. One option for detractors is a repeal by Alaska’s legislature, where several seats will be filled by candidates who won this year in part because of the new voting machines.

A citizen’s initiative might repeal the system. More than 60% of Alaskans approve, according to polling after the August primary. Peltola’s allies think she’ll face severe challenges from Republicans when her tenure expires in two years. A nationwide Democratic network helped Peltola raise $5.5 million by mid-October, more than quadruple what Palin and Begich raised.

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