Sarah Palin lost Alaska’s special election to fill its lone Congressional seat to Democratic challenger Mary Peltola Wednesday, once again sparing the United States from sending the former Republican vice-presidential nominee to Washington for a second time.
Peltola, a former state lawmaker, becomes the first Native American and the first woman to represent the state in Congress — as well as the first Democrat to do so since 1972. She will serve out the remaining months of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term before vying to serve a full term in the upcoming November election. (Young died in March at the age of 88 after serving Alaska in Congress since 1973.)
“What’s most important is that I’m an Alaskan being sent to represent all Alaskans,” Peltola told reporters after the race was called. “Yes, being Alaska Native is part of my ethnicity, but I’m much more than my ethnicity.”
Palin’s loss marks a significant blow for the former Alaska governor and Sen. John McCain’s running mate, who positioned her campaign as her great political comeback. Once a household name for her bizarre off-the-cuff comments and self-proclaimed “folksy” mannerisms on the 2008 campaign trail, Palin’s antics now seem tame by comparison in the wake of the rise of the new alt-right and Donald Trump’s MAGA movement. The Alaska Republican hoped receiving a highly coveted endorsement from the beleaguered former president would help propel her to Congress. (Trump was forced to appear at an early August rally for Palin in Anchorage by teleconference — primarily because the rally coincided with the unannounced raid on his Mar-a-Lago compound. “Another day in paradise. This is a strange day. You probably all read about it,” Trump said, per Business Insider.)
Still, Palin relied heavily on her reputation as a maligned political black sheep throughout her campaign — a move which appears to have backfired tremendously. “We have been mocked and ridiculed and falsely accused and told to sit down and shut up. The stuff that you’ve heard about me — it’s a lie,” she said during a July campaign rally. “I’m way worse than what you’ve heard.”
The special election, the first of its kind in the state, allowed voters to rank candidates by preference when polls first opened Aug. 16. With 99% of precincts reported, Peltola bested both Palin and Republican Nicholas Begich III by earning nearly 52% of the votes. She previously served in the Alaska House from 1999 to 2009.
Unfortunately, Palin still has a second shot at Congress. As a top-four finisher in the state’s Congressional primary, Palin will remain one of the candidates available for Alaska voters to choose when they return to the polls in November.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Aug 31. at 10:10 p.m. EST to remove a quote erroneously attributed to Sarah Palin during the 2008 Presidential election.