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What happened to Sarah Palin?

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U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin speaks to the media at her campaign headquarters.

U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin speaks to the media at her campaign headquarters in South Anchorage, Alaska, after the rank choice ballots were counted on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022.

Bill Roth, Associated Press

Sarah Palin’s political comeback bid came up short in the special election for Alaska’s vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

Democrat Mary Peltola emerged as the winner and will become the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress.

How did Sarah Palin lose?

The election, held two weeks ago, used a new “ranked-choice” voting system. After all the ballots are collected, candidates are eliminated “from the bottom up,” according to The Washington Post.

“Ultimately, third-place candidate Nick Begich (R) was eliminated, with his voters’ lower-ranked choices being added to the totals, if they ranked one of the two finalists below Begich,” the Post explained.

Explained CNN: “The special election process began when a field of 48 candidates — including Santa Claus, a North Pole councilman and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter — was whittled down to a final four in a June primary in which candidates of all parties ran together on one ballot. “

The final vote had Peltola at 40%, Palin at 31% and Begich at 28.5%.

The seat was open following the death of longtime Republican Don Young.

Palin had the support of former President Donald Trump, who won that state of Alaska by 10 points in 2020.

“This one stings due to one specific characteristic: It was a trial run for a dynamic Republicans are confronting in the general election — divisive and extreme candidates who might alienate moderate voters,” explained Aaron Blake of The Washington Post.

Sarah Palin criticizes ranked-choice voting

Palin, a former Alaska governor who was the late Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, issued a statement about the ranked-choice format. She called it “convoluted” and “confusing.”

The ranked-choice system was approved by the state’s voters in 2020.

What’s next for Sarah Palin?

The former Alaska governor still has a shot at the House seat in November’s election for the upcoming term, having finished in the top three in the state’s primary. Peltola and Begich are also on the ballot.

“Though we’re disappointed in this outcome, Alaskans know I’m the last one who’ll ever retreat,” Palin’s statement reads. “Instead, I’m going to reload. With optimism that Alaskans learn from this voting system mistake and correct it in the next election, let’s work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November.”