Thursday, September 1, 2022: Ranked choice voting in Alaska U.S. House Race: Post Special Election analysis.


Mary Peltola talking with a campaign supporter just before an August campaign rally in Juneau was about to get underway (Photo by Rhonda McBride).

Heading into Alaska’s special election for U.S. House, there were so many unknowns. Would voters, who ranked Republican Nick Begich as their first choice, cross party lines for their second choice candidate – or would those votes go to fellow Republican, Sarah Palin? And how many voters would choose not to select a second choice?

That question was answered on Wednesday: Mary Peltola, though a Democrat, got enough second choice votes to maintain her lead – and now heads to Washington D.C. to serve out the remaining four months of the late Congressman Don Young’s term.

On Thursday’s Juneau Afternoon, two political scientists weigh-in on how this new system of voting has worked so far — as well as two lawmakers who served with Peltola in the state legislature.

On this program:

  • Benjamin Reilly, professor of political science and international relations at the University of Western Australia. He is now headquartered at the East West Center in Hawaii, a political policy think tank.
  • Glenn Wright, assistant professor of political science at the University of Alaska Southeast. Wright also oversees the university’s legislative intern program.
  • Beth Kerttula, a Democrat, who is a former  House Minority leader. She later served in the Obama administration as director of the National Ocean Council Office.
  • Andrew Halcro, a Republican, a former state representative. Halcro also ran for Governor as in independent candidate in 2006. He was defeated by Sarah Palin. Currently he hosts With All Due Respect, a podcast featured on the Anchorage Daily News website.
Rhonda McBride, Producer of Juneau Afternoon

Rhonda McBride hosted Thursday’s program. You can catch Juneau Afternoon, Tuesday through Friday, live at 3:00 p.m. on KTOO Juneau 104.3.  The rebroadcast airs at 7:00 p.m. on KTOO. You can also listen online at

For more information about Juneau Afternoon or to schedule time on the show, email Please schedule early. The show is often booked one to two weeks in advance.



Listen to the interview: Alaska U.S. House Special Election -- Looking back, looking ahead. Will Mary Peltola hold on to her House seat?

Guests: Political Scientists: Benjamin Reilly, University of Western Australia. Glenn Wright, University of Alaska Southeast. Lawmakers who served with Mary Peltola in the US House: Beth Kerttula and Andrew Halcro.
In this episode of Juneau Afternoon, hosted by KTOO’s Rhonda McBride, some post-special election analysis. A look at how Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system worked to send Democrat Mary Peltola to Washington D.C. to fill out the remainder of the late Congressman Don Young’s term. Also a look ahead at the next inning of the political season, the general election, when  Peltola again faces Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, in a final showdown to decide who will represent Alaska in Congress for a full two-year term. Some veteran political observers weigh in on ranked choice voting and discuss some of Peltola’s early legislative history.


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