Sarah Palin defeated by Mary Peltola in Alaska comeback bid

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Palin giving a speechImage source, Getty Images

Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is projected to have again lost her bid for a political comeback after this month's midterm elections.

The Republican suffered her second defeat in three months to Mary Peltola, a Democrat, in the race for a US House of Representatives seat in Alaska.

Senator Lisa Murkowski is meanwhile projected to have beaten a fellow Republican challenger in her election.

The results won't affect which parties run Congress after the midterms.

Republicans will still take over the House, while Democrats retain the Senate.

The Alaska races took two weeks to be called because the state uses a new ranked-choice voting system.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Democrat Mary Peltola (right) and Sarah Palin are friendly from their time serving in the statehouse

CBS News, the BBC's US partner, projected the result for Alaska's at-large House seat on Wednesday night with 88% of votes counted, showing Ms Peltola on 55% and Ms Palin on 45%.

The Democrat's win is notable in a conservative state that former President Donald Trump took by 10 points in 2020 and in a district that was Republican-held for nearly five decades.

Senator Murkowski - an incumbent moderate Republican who voted to impeach Mr Trump for incitement of insurrection after last year's US Capitol riot - has also cruised to re-election.

Media caption,

Watch: We asked Americans about Trump running again - they have mixed feelings.

With almost all votes counted, she has beaten Trump-endorsed intra-party challenger Kelly Tshibaka by more than seven points, CBS projects.

In 2020, Mr Trump vowed to campaign against Ms Murkowski, saying: "Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don't care, I'm endorsing. If you have a pulse, I'm with you!"

The former president - who has just launched another campaign for the White House - travelled in July to Anchorage to appear at a rally for Ms Palin and Ms Tshibaka.

Ms Peltola, who is Yup'ik and grew up in a rural part of Alaska, campaigned for abortion access, climate action and the state's salmon populations.

She served in the statehouse in Juneau for a decade, overlapping with Ms Palin during her 2006-09 tenure as governor of Alaska.

Despite their political rivalry, the two say they bonded in the Capitol as they were both pregnant at the time.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Lisa Murkowski was a major political target for Mr Trump

Ms Palin's brand of combative conservatism and anti-establishment appeal led many to consider her as the political precursor to Mr Trump.

The former self-described hockey mom was the vice-presidential running mate in 2008 to Arizona Senator John McCain, who lost to Barack Obama.

Ms Palin went on to star on reality TV shows, wrote a best-selling memoir, Going Rogue, and signed a $1m-a-year contract with Fox News.

After the Alaska result, CBS estimates Republicans currently have 221 seats in the 435-seat House and Democrats 213.

Only one House race remains to be called from the midterms: in California's 13th district, which the network says is leaning towards the Republican candidate.

Democrats currently have 50 Senate seats (Republicans have 49) and could pick up an extra one after a run-off election in Georgia next month.

Even if they lose in Georgia, Democrats will still control the upper chamber of Congress owing to the vice-president's tie-breaking vote.