Skip to main content

Pauly Denetclaw
ICT

2 p.m. ET, Aug. 17

A Yup’ik woman is in the lead to fill out the term in Alaska’s sole Congressional seat with 80 percent of the vote counted.

Votes are being tallied in both a special election and a primary in a regularly scheduled election in Alaska. The special election is to fill the remaining months of the late Congressman Don Young’s term.

Mary Peltola, who is Yup’ik, is in the lead in the special election. Peltola, a Democrat and former state legislator, has 38.38 percent of the votes. Former Republican governor and Trump-backed candidate Sarah Palin has 32.59 percent. Republican businessman Nick Begich has 29.03 percent.

However, ranked choice voting could put either Palin or Begich in the lead once second choice votes are counted. READ MORE. — Joaqlin Estus, ICT

8:35 p.m. MT, AUG 16

The Associated Press called the Wyoming Democratic primary race for Lynnette Grey Bull. She will head to the general election this fall. She will face Harriet Hageman, the GOP nominee who was endorsed by Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney conceded and made a passionate speech against Trumpism in Jackson, Wyoming.

7:00 p.m. MT

The polls in Wyoming have closed and results will begin to pour in. The big story of the night is Republican and U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney who is fighting for her political future this election. An outspoken critic of former president Donald Trump, Cheney’s seat, for the At-Large congressional district, has been targeted by far-right Republicans who support him.

There have been predictions that Cheney will not be headed to the general election.

Indigenous candidate Lynnette Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho and Hunkpapa Lakota, is likely headed to the general election as the Democratic nominee. In 2020, she was the first Indigenous candidate to grab a nomination in Wyoming. During the last election, she won the primary with 60 percent of the votes, and in the general election got 24.6 percent of the vote.

Grey Bull was active on social media Tuesday, encouraging voters to head to the polls.

The general election will be tough for the longtime advocate. Some 70 percent of voters in Wyoming voted for Trump. Cheney won her seat with nearly 70 percent of the votes.

If Grey Bull wins the nomination she will likely face Harriet Hageman, who was endorsed by Trump.

Cheney is bracing for a loss against Hageman in the state in which Trump won by the largest of margins during the 2020 campaign.

Win or lose, the 56-year-old daughter of a vice president is vowing to remain an active presence in national politics as she contemplates a 2024 presidential bid. But in the short term, Cheney is facing a dire threat from Republican opponent Hageman, a Cheyenne ranching industry attorney who has harnessed the full fury of the Trump movement in her bid to expel Cheney from the House.

“Today, no matter what the outcome is, is certainly the beginning of a battle that is going to continue,” Cheney told CBS News after casting her vote Tuesday, standing alongside her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. “We’re facing a moment where our democracy really is under attack and under threat. And those of us across the board — Republicans, Democrats and independents who believe deeply in freedom and who care about the Constitution and the future of the country — have an obligation to put that above party.”

Many of Wyoming’s voters don’t seem to agree with their three-term Republican Congress member.

In Alaska, Mary Peltola, Yup’ik, has a fighting chance under the new ranked voting system. She is going against one of the most well-known politicians from Alaska, Sarah Palin, a former governor and at one-time a vice-presidential candidate. Her other opponent is millionaire, Nick Begich. The results for the congressional At-Large district will not be known for days as mail-in ballots make their way in and possibly weeks if none of the candidates have more than 50 percent of the votes.

In the Senate race, Edgar Blatchford, Inupiaq, could be the second Alaskan Native candidate to make it past the primary election and into the general election. He is running as a Democrat. The top four candidates of the 18 will move forward. 

1:00 p.m. MT

There was Mary Sattler Peltola’s photo on national TV. The national pundits and reporters saying her name, talking about her run and how likely she is to perform well at the polls today.

Peltola, Yup’ik, is one of the top three candidates in the special election to replace the late Don Young, who was the U.S. Representative for Alaska’s congressional at-large district. She is running against GOP darling and former Alaska governor and one-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and Republican Nick Begich.

She is also one of a growing handful of Indigenous political candidates who are running strong campaigns in Republican states. Voters in both Alaska and Wyoming, which have Indigenous candidates fighting uphill battles, are casting ballots in primary elections today.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Peltola was the only Democrat who made it past the primary for the special election in the fiercely Republican state. In the primary, Palin easily led the pack, garnering a huge percentage of the votes. But in Alaska, rural voters win elections and Palin doesn’t have a large base in rural Alaska according to national pundits.

Peltola has a chance of being the first Indigenous Alaskan elected to Congress. Her run is historic though she told Anchorage Daily News that she tries not to think about her bid for election in that way. She is running on a platform of being pro-choice, pro-family, pro-fish and pro-jobs.

Tuesday's ballot features a U.S. Senate primary race in which the influence of former President Donald Trump's may not prove decisive. Alaskans pick one candidate in each race, with the top four vote-getters advancing to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is seeking reelection to a seat she has held for nearly 20 years. She faces 18 opponents — the most prominent of which is Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who has Trump’s endorsement.

The Indigenous candidate running in that race is U.S. Senate, Edgar Blatchford, Inupiaq, a former academic and mayor, who is running as a Democrat. He made an unsuccessful run for the Senate in 2016 and dropped out of the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor in 2018. He is the only other notable candidate besides Murkowski, Tshibaka and Pat Chesbro, a retired educator who was endorsed by the state’s Democratic party.

There is some analysis that states that Blatchford could advance to the general election this fall.

Other Indigenous candidates who are running for office in the state are:

  • Neal Foster, Inupiaq, who is running as a Democrat for Alaska State House 39
  • Tiffany Zulkosky, Yup'ik, who is running as a Democrat for Alaska State House 38
  • Bryce Edgmon, Yup’ik, who is running as an Independent for Alaska State House 37
  • Josiah Patkotak, Inupiaq, who is running as an Independent for Alaska State House 40
  • Lyman Hoffman, Yup’ik, who is running as a Democrat for Alaska State Senate S

The results from Alaska’s election will likely not be definitive until the mail-in ballots are counted which could take several days.

Alaska isn’t the only state with an election today. Wyoming voters are also headed to the polls.

All eyes are on the Republican primary where former president Donald Trump has targeted U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s seat.

Cheney's work as vice chair of the congressional committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has won her bipartisan praise from those who see Trump as a threat to American democracy. But it has severely threatened her chances of prevailing in the Republican primary in deeply red Wyoming, where Trump notched one of his most lopsided 2020 victories, capturing 70 percent of the vote compared to Joe Biden's 27 percent.

Cheney is a primary target for candidates both inside and outside of her party in today’s primary election.

Set to deny Cheney a fourth term as Wyoming’s lone member of the House is Harriet Hageman, a Cheyenne ranching industry attorney who was little known outside the state before winning Trump’s endorsement last year.

Like this story? Support our work with a $5 or $10 contribution today. Contribute to the nonprofit ICT. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter. 

Hageman finished in the middle of a five-way, 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. She's campaigned aggressively for Cheney's House seat, appearing at county fairs, parades and rodeos. Making his first public political appearance in Wyoming, Trump drew a crowd of at least 10,000 to a Casper rally supporting Hageman in May.

A defeat for Cheney would cap a swift, once unthinkable political collapse in a state where her name recognition is nearly universal and her family’s political roots run deep. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, held the state's House seat for 10 years until 1989.

Running against this legacy in Wyoming is Lynnette Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho. She is running in the Democratic primary and is hoping to go to the general election to face Cheney. She has two opponents in the Democratic primary, Steven Helling and Meghan Jensen. She is likely to win the Democratic nomination again. She ran in 2020 where she faced Cheney. Grey Bull garnered 24.6 percent of the votes in the general election. She was the first Native American candidate to win a nomination and head to the general election in Wyoming.

Lynnette Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho and Hunkpapa Lakota, oversees the Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, helping get federal pandemic funds to people who need assistance with housing and electricity. (Photo courtesy of Lynnette Grey Bull)

She currently lives in Fort Washakie and is the co-founder of Not Our Native Daughters, a nonprofit organization aiming to increase awareness of the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Grey Bull was born in Wyoming but grew up in California. She spent summers with her family in Wyoming. Eventually, she moved to Arizona before heading back to her homelands in Wyoming in 2017.

Grey Bull has dedicated her work to “outreach, advocacy, and community improvement,” according to her website. This has led her to doing homeless outreach in “L.A.'s Skid Row, United Way Arizona's Project Homeless Connect, a Native American outreach food box program with deliveries to tribal nations across the country, and served as chair of Arizona Commission for Indian Affairs, where she worked with 26 different tribes, coordinating their issues with governor's office.” She is a lifelong advocate and continues this work in her mother’s community in Wind River. She is also Hunkpapa Lakota.

In the state race, Andi LeBeau, Northern Arapaho, who was first elected in 2018 is running for re-election for her state House seat to represent District 33. According to the list of candidates compiled by ICT, which is not complete, she is the only Indigenous state candidate running for office.

Please email political correspondent, Pauly Denetclaw, at pauly@ictnews.org to have a candidate added.

Information on voting in Alaska can be found here and in Wyoming it can be found here.

New ICT logo

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.

Like this story? Support our work with a $5 or $10 contribution today. Contribute to the nonprofit ICT. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter.