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Breaking News. History was made on Wednesday when Alaska Native Mary Peltola, a Democrat, was elected to fill Alaska's congressional at-large seat that has been vacant since longtime Congressman Don Young died unexpectedly in March, 2022. 

Peltola, who is Yup’ik, made history because she is the first Alaska Native member of Congress, as well as the first Democratic woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives and only the fifth person to represent the state in the House since Alaska gained statehood in 1959.

[INTERVIEW:  Mary Peltola Set to Become First Alaska Native in Congress]

Peltola beat former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the special election. In the special election, Peltola garnered 51.5 percent of the vote to Palin’s 48.5 percent. Palin, a Republican, had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who campaigned for her in the state. Republican candidate Nick Begich III finished third in voting.  

The election victory was a 49th birthday present for Peltola, who was born on August 31, 1973.

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Peltola will be sworn in on September 13, 2022 and will serve in Congress until the end of the current term.  She will have to run for re-election in the midterm election on November 8, 2022. 

Peltola was elected at age 24 to represent the Bethel region in the state House of Representatives. She served in that seat for a decade, from 1999 until 2009. She and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) entered the state legislature the same year, and Peltola said that she's respected Murkowski ever since.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. 

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].