Incumbents Dunleavy, Murkowski, Peltola hold in 2022 midterms

Reactions to the results of the 2022 midterms
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 4:14 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 11:50 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Division of Elections on Wednesday released the final results for the 2022 midterms and held ranked-choice tabulation.

In the race for governor, incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy handily defeated his challengers, eclipsing the 50% mark in first-place votes and skirting the need to tabulate further rounds.

Dunleavy amassed 132,392 votes, against 63,755 for Democrat Les Gara, 54,585 for nonpartisan former Gov. Bill Walker and 11,786 for Republican former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce.

“Alaskans, thank you for voting and for your continued support over the past four years. From public safety and improving our education outcomes to growing our economy, I am honored to serve Alaskans for another four years,” Dunleavy wrote in a statement following his victory. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to prioritize the policies Alaskans expect us to accomplish. Together, we will work to build an Alaska not just for the next four years but for 50 years and beyond. I will devote myself to ensuring our best days are in front of us.”

Incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski faced a tough challenge from Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican with the backing of former President Donald Trump. Both held around 43% of first-place votes, but the sitting senator pulled away during ranked-choice tabulation.

Murkowski finished with 135,972 votes to Tshibaka’s 117,299 after tabulation. Murkowski held a slight lead in first-place votes going into tabulation and got a boost in the form of votes among those who listed Democratic candidate Pat Chesbro as their first choice. Murkowski received more than 70% of Chesbro’s votes.

“Thank you, Alaska. I am honored that Alaskans – of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations – have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us,” Murkowski wrote in a statement.

“It’s clear from the ranked choice tabulations that Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been reelected, and I congratulate her on that. The new election system has been frustrating to many Alaskans, because it was indisputably designed as an incumbent-protection program, and it clearly worked as intended,” Tshibaka wrote, in part, in a statement following Murkowski’s victory.

“I think it’s an expected outcome, but I was really kind of pleased that I ended up with — the last count was 29,000 votes. That’s good and I saw that Sen. Murkowski got 20,500 of my votes, so she kind of needed me, didn’t she?” Chesbro told Alaska’s News Source.

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola held off Republicans Nick Begich and former Gov. Sarah Palin for the second time in less than three months, this time holding the seat she first won in August. The sitting representative nearly reached the 50% mark in first-place votes, an improvement over her August showing, and went on to prevail during ranked-choice tabulation.

Peltola finished with 136,893 votes to Palin’s 112,255. Begich, as well as Libertarian candidate Chris Bye, were eliminated during tabulation.

“Alaskan voters understand that in a small delegation, seniority matters. Even if that seniority is just a few weeks, it counts for something. And the 118th Congress that will be sworn in in January is a pretty big class. And the 117th Congress, which I am officially a member of, is a much smaller class. So Alaska will have that much more seniority in the House, even in the 118th Congress,” Peltola told Alaska’s News Source’s Rebecca Palsha after her victory.

“Tonight, I want to offer my congratulations to Alaska’s next congressional representative — Mary Peltola. Our nation faces a number of challenges in the coming years, and our representatives will need wisdom and discernment as they work to put America on a more sound path,” Begich wrote, in part, in a statement following Peltola’s win.

On Friday, Palin posted a concession statement, thanking Trump for his endorsement and casting doubt on ranked-choice voting.

“It’s an honor to run for office in my homestate, offering to serve the great people of Alaska! Congratulations to Rep. Mary Peltola and her family as this new chapter in their lives - and the life of Alaska - unfolds. Challenging Washington, DC’s status quo in a way that represents the people’s best interest is a monumental but necessary task, and I offer to help in anyway I can,” Palin wrote. “As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m more encouraged than ever to fight for what is right, including leading the charge now to repeal ranked choice voting, which I’d repeatedly committed to regardless of this race’s outcome. Alaska must return to an election system that can be trusted and clearly understood, and the rest of America must be warned not to adopt this new convoluted, complicated, drawn-out election system that invites dark money influence.”

Rounding out the top four races, voters overwhelmingly opposed a ballot measure proposing a constitutional convention for Alaska. More than 70% of voters chose “no” on the possibility of altering or rewriting that state’s constitution. The ballot measure was not part of the ranked-choice voting process.

For a full list of statewide election results, click here.

The Associated Press has held off on calling the State Senate District J and State House District 15 races.

“In both contests, our decision desk has determined that they remain too close to call. The margins are so tight that a change of a single digit number of votes could change the outcome or lead them into RCV. Both will have to wait for formal certification before we can declare a winner,” AP U.S. Election Services Director Brian Scanlon wrote, when asked by Alaska’s News Source why the races were not called.

Results are unofficial until they are certified. The certification date is set for Nov. 29.

This article has been updated with additional information.