Steve Haycox: The curious history of Alaska’s U.S. House seat.

Guests: Steve Haycox, author, historian and professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Steve Haycox says Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat is colorful like the state itself (Photo by Will Mader).

Alaska’s lone U.S. House Seat has a history has, well, quite a history. The first time the late Congressman Don Young ran for office in 1972, he was actually beaten by Nick Begich, a Democrat, who died in a plane crash just before the election — so Young got the job by default, one that he held for almost a half century until his death this year.

UAA Professor Steve Haycox says the special election to fill the remainder of Don Young’s term is in keeping with that Congressional seat’s odd history, after Mary Peltola, a Democrat, won in the state’s first election to use ranked choice voting.

Peltola also  made history in two other ways. She’s the first woman and Alaska Native to fill that job, while also beating two high profile opponents — former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III, whose grandfather held that seat, only Begich is running as a Republican. Peltola must now face off against these two Republicans in the November to determine who gets to fill the next two-year term.

Air date: Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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