Mary Peltola

FILE - Mary Peltola, a Democrat seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska.

(The Center Square) - The final unofficial results for Alaska's special congressional election show that Democrat Mary Peltola has won.

The special election was the first test of ranked-choice voting in Alaska. Republican Nick Begich came in third and was eliminated in the first round.

That created a showdown between Peltola and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Once the second place votes were counted, Peltola had 91,206 total votes to Palin's 85,987.

Peltola will be the first woman elected to Congress from Alaska and the first Native American. She will serve out the remainder of the late Don Young's term, which ends on Jan. 3.

Palin and Peltola are in another contest to see who will advance to the November general election for a full two-year term in Congress. As of Wednesday evening, Peltola led Palin with 36.81% of first-place votes to Palin's 30.21%.

Peltola said "it's a good day," in a Twitter post shortly after the results were announced.

"We've won tonight, but we're still going to have to hold this seat in November," she said in the post.

Palin did not immediately issue a reaction to the results. She was critical of ranked-choice voting, calling it "crazy" and "convoluted."

"Voters are confused and angry, and feel disenfranchised by this cockamamie system that makes it impossible to trust that your vote will even be counted the way you intended," Palin said in a news release earlier this month. "We'll keep fighting to equip Alaskans with the information they need to make sure their voices are heard amidst this Leftist-crafted system – no matter how hard the corrupt political establishment works to silence us."

The special election results will not be officially certified until Friday.

Associate Editor

Kim Jarrett's career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.