NBC News projects Sarah Palin to lose, ending the political comeback

Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives Sarah Palin talks to reporters near the corner of Seward Highway and Northern Lights Boulevard on U.S. Election Night, in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., November 8, 2022.

Kerry Tasker | Reuters

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the only Republican woman ever to be nominated for vice president, was defeated in her political comeback bid to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives, NBC News reported Wednesday night.

Palin’s loss to Rep. Mary Peltola, a Democrat, was her second defeat in an election for Alaska’s seat in the big house in less than three months.

The race took weeks to be declared because the winner was determined by Alaska’s new ranked choice voting system.

In late August, Peltola defeated Palin and another Republican, Nick Begich, in a special election for the seat. It was left vacant by the March death of GOP Rep. Don Young, who served for nearly half a century.

Peltola, a former state representative, became Alaska’s first resident in Congress.

But she immediately faced a rematch against Palin and Begich in the election for a full two-year term.

Peltola finished fourth in a nonpartisan primary in June.

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In mid-August, none of the remaining three candidates received more than 50% of the vote in the special election. The winner was then determined by a ranked-choice voting system approved by the state’s voters two years earlier.

Palin complained about the ranked pick system after her first loss, calling its implementation a “mistake.” But Begich said, “ranked-choice voting showed that a vote for Sarah Palin is really a vote for Mary Peltola.”

“Palin simply doesn’t have enough Alaskan support to win an election,” Begich said at the time.

The late Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona tapped Palin as his running mate in his 2008 presidential race against the Democratic nominee and eventual winner, Barack Obama, and his running mate Joe Biden, who was himself elected president two years ago.

Palin stepped down as governor of Alaska in July 2009, less than a year after losing the presidential election, saying ethics complaints against her threatened to bog down the state.

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