facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

Congressional candidate and elect Mary Peltola (Yup’ik) is on track to fill the state’s congressional at-large seat made vacant by Congressman Don Young’s unexpected death in March 2022. 

In unofficial results counted by early Wednesday from 96% of all precincts, Peltola brought in more than 100,500 votes—claiming about 47% of the vote for Alaska’s single U.S. House seat. Former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin was in second place with about 27%. Under Alaska’s new ranked choice voting system, results aren’t final until a candidate has garnered more than 50% of votes. If the leading candidate doesn’t cross that threshold, the winner will be determined by second and third-choice votes, which will be tallied by election officials on Nov. 23. Votes from fifteen precincts have yet to be counted.

“I am honored that so many Alaskans have entrusted me with their votes,” Peltola said today in a statement. “No matter who ends up winning or losing this race, I hope we will all work together to solve Alaska’s urgent problems in the coming weeks, months, and years. My campaign has never been about partisan politics. It has always been about Alaska’s future.”

Peltola, 49, made history as the first Alaska Native member of Congress and the first Democratic woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives when she beat out Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the special election held in August. She was sworn in on September 13, 2022. Peltola is only the fifth person to represent the state in the House since Alaska gained statehood in 1959.

Less than two weeks after being sworn in, Rep. Petola introduced her first piece of legislation — the Food Security for all Veterans Act (H.R.8888), which  calls for the creation of an Office of Food Security within the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the bill was voted out of the House's Veterans Affairs committee. After three weeks on the job,  Peltola worked with Republican Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski to pressure the Biden Administration to fully fund disaster relief support after a major storm devastated primarily Native communities in Western Alaska.

The focus of Peltola’s campaign has been “fish, family and freedom” for all Alaskans.

“My relationship to salmon goes back to my mother and our language,” Peltola told Native News Online in an August interview. “The generic word for fish is also a generic word for food. Fish is a huge part of our diet. Being a Yup’ik person meant putting up hundreds and hundreds of fish for the winter that would take us through the winter. Dry salmon is a huge part of our diet. And it's something that we've been missing for the last 13 years.”

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

She added that being pro-fish is about “talking about precautionary management, considering the low ocean productivity, as well as adaptive management.”

In the race for the U.S. Senate, results show incumbent candidate Lisa Murkowski closely behind her challenger and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka. 

More Stories Like This

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Hoskin Addresses Impact of Federal Government Shutdown to Speaker of the House
Native News Weekly (February 25, 2024): D.C. Briefs
South Dakota House State Affairs Committee Advances Bill to Expand and Protect Native American Voting Rights
Historic Native Nations Agribusiness Trade Mission to Take Place in Canada in June

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Senior Reporter
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.