The 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Alaska were/are a set of elections set in motion by the regular two-year cadence of U.S. House elections, combined with a special election due to the death of the incumbent. This election was already closely watched because of a 2020 ballot measure which changed Alaska's election method to a form of ranked-choice voting.
Background[edit | edit source]
This was the first year of federal elections in Alaska after a new voting system was enacted by "Alaska Measure 2" in 2020. Under the new system (promoted as "top-four primary"), all candidates compete in a single blanket primary. The topwhere either one candidate takes a majority of the vote and is elected or the top four candidates go on to a general election.
At the beginning of 2022, this seat was filled by Republican representative Don Young, who had been the incumbent representing Alaska since 1973. The seat became vacant when Young died on March 18, 2022, on a flight home from Washington D.C. The filing deadline to fill Young's seat was on April 1.
People[edit | edit source]
Predecessors[edit | edit source]
- Nick Begich Sr. (Democratic Party) — Represented Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1971 until his death in October 1972. He was running for reelection in late 1972, and had received more votes than Don Young in the August 1972 election prior to his death. He also received more posthumous votes in the November 1972 election than Young. However, after Begich's death, a special election was held, and Republican candidate Don Young defeated his new Democratic rival.
- Don Young (Republican Party)— Represented Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives from March 1973 until his death in March 2022.
Candidates[edit | edit source]
This is a list of the candidates who played a substantial role in at least on of the elections described in following sections:
- Mary Peltola (Democratic Party) — is a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, and a former tribal court judge. She is an Alaska Native member of the Yup'ik tribe.
- Sarah Palin (Republican Party) — former governor of Alaska, and 2008 candidate for Vice-President of the United States.
- Nick Begich III (Republican Party) — grandson of Nick Begich Sr and executive chairman of FarShore Partners (a software company).
- Al Gross (Independent) — orthopedic surgeon, commercial fisherman, and former candidate in 2020 race for U.S. Senator from Alaska. See also: Wikipedia: Al Gross (politician)
- Tara Sweeney (Republican Party) —
- Chris Bye (Libertarian Party) —
June 2022 special primary election[edit | edit source]
A special primary election was held on June 11 to select candidates for the August 2022 general election. Per the rules of the top-four primary, the top four candidates receiving the highest quantiy of votes were qualified to advance to a August special general election.
The results (courtesy Ballotpedia), with candidates who qualified for the general election in bold: :
- Sarah Palin (27.0%, 43,601 votes)
- Nick Begich III (19.1%; 30,861 votes)
- Al Gross (12.6%; 20,392 votes)
- Mary Peltola (10.1%; 16,265 votes)
- Tara Sweeney (5.9%; 9560 votes)
- Santa Claus (4.7%; 7625 votes)
The third-placed candidate in the primary, (Al Gross), withdrew, so only Palin, Begich, and Peltola were placed on the ballot for the August general election.
August 2022 special general election[edit | edit source]
A special election was held on August 16, 2022, with the results announced two weeks later on August 31.  Democrat Mary Peltola won the open seat, in an apparent upset. Peltola's victory was the first Democratic party win an election for the United States House of Representatives seat representing Alaska since Nick Begich's posthumous 1972 victory.
The runoff count was reported on August 31, after all absentee and overseas ballots were counted, with Peltola being declared the winner. The Democratic victory was widely considered an upset due to Alaska's strong Republican lean. Peltola became the first Democrat to win a statewide election in Alaska since Mark Begich in 2008. Peltola was sworn in to the House of Representatives on September 13, 2022.
With her election, Peltola became the first indigenous Alaska Native elected serve in the United States Congress, and the first woman elected to represent Alaska in the United States House of Representatives.
Results[edit | edit source]
|Party||Candidate||Round 1||Round 2|
|Total valid votes||188,666||100.00%||177,423||100.00%|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
August 2022 regular primary election[edit | edit source]
The regular primary election on August 16, concurrent with the special general election. The results:
- Mary Peltola (36.8%; 70,295 votes)
- Sarah Palin (30.2%; 57,693 votes)
- Nicholas Begich (26.2%; 50,021 votes)
- Tara Sweeney (3.8%; 7195 votes)
- Chris Bye (0.6%; 1189 votes)
- J.R. Myers (0.3%; 531 votes)
Tara Sweeny withdrew from the race, leaving Chris Bye (the fifth-place finisher) to advance to the general election.
November 2022 regular general election[edit | edit source]
Candidates on the ballot for the November 2022 election:
- Mary Peltola
- Sarah Palin
- Nicholas Begich
- Chris Bye
Analysis[edit | edit source]
The August 2022 special election for U.S. House Representative in Alaska featured three main candidates and was conducted by by single-winner ranked choice voting method known as ``instant runoff voting." The results of this election displayed a well-known but relatively rare phenomenon known as the ``center squeeze:" The most centrist candidate, Mark Begich, was eliminated in the first round despite winning an overwhelming majority of second-place votes. In fact, Begich was the Condorcet winner of this election: Based on the cast vote record, he would have defeated both of the other two candidates in head-to-head contests, but he was eliminated in the first round of ballot counting due to receiving the fewest first-place votes. The purpose of this paper is to use the data in the cast vote record to explore the range of likely outcomes if this election had been conducted under two alternative voting methods: Approval Voting and STAR (``Score Then Automatic Runoff") Voting. We find that under the best assumptions available about voter behavior, the most likely outcomes are that Peltola would still have won the election under Approval Voting, while Begich would have won under STAR Voting.
Wikipedia[edit | edit source]
- w:2022 United States House of Representatives election in Alaska
- w:2022 Alaska's at-large congressional district special election
- w:1972 United States House of Representatives election in Alaska — the election that Nick Begich Sr posthumously won for the Democratic party. It was the last U.S.-house election won by a member of the Democratic party until Peltola's 2022 victory.
- w:Don Young#Death
- w:Mary Peltola#U.S. House of Representatives (2022–present)
- w:Sarah Palin#2022 House of Representatives candidacy
References[edit | edit source]
- Miller, Andrew Mark (March 18, 2022). "Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young dead at 88". w:Fox News. Archived from the original on March 19, 2022. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
- Herz, Nathaniel; Brooks, James (March 22, 2022). "After Young's death, Alaska's political world braces for a sea change and an elections marathon". w:Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on March 22, 2022. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
- October 23, James Brooks Updated:; October 23, 2021 Published:; 2021. "Nick Begich, Republican son of Alaska's leading Democratic family, will run for U.S. House". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2022-10-17.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "United States House of Representatives special election in Alaska, 2022 (June 11 top-four primary)". Ballotpedia.
- Reuters (2022-08-31). "Democrat Mary Peltola wins special election to fill Alaska's U.S. House seat". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
- Brooks, James (March 19, 2022). "Alaska's first ranked-choice election will be a special vote to replace Rep. Don Young". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
- Iris Samuels. "Peltola again grows her lead, but final outcome in Alaska's U.S. House race is days away". Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on August 28, 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
- "Democrat Mary Peltola wins special election to fill Alaska's U.S. House seat". Reuters. 2022-09-01. Archived from the original on September 1, 2022. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
- Wikipedia: Politics of Alaska
- Wikipedia: 2008 United States Senate election in Alaska
- Rakich, Nathaniel (2022-09-01). "What Democrats' Win In Alaska Tells Us About November". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
- Sabbatini, Mark (September 5, 2022). "Peltola to be sworn in Sept. 13". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022.
- Rockey, Tim. "Peltola to become first Alaska Native, first female Alaska congresswoman". Alaskasnewssource.com. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
- robertjbrown. "Alaska special election ballots".
- "What should I use to parse Alaska special election JSON data?". reddit. 2023-03-30. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
- Copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2022_Alaska%27s_at-large_congressional_district_special_election&oldid=1116513169
- "State of Alaska | 2022 SPECIAL GENERAL ELECTION | RCV Tabulation | August 16, 2022 | OFFICIAL RESULTS" (PDF). Alaska Division of Elections. September 2, 2022. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
- "Alaska's At-large Congressional District election, 2022 (August 16 top-four primary)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2022-10-17.