Josiah Patkotak narrowly wins state House seat in Alaska

Election 2020

Unofficial results in Alaska show Inupiaq independent Josiah Patkotak as the winner in House District 40 #NativeVote

Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

Josiah Patkotak, Inupiaq, appears to be the winner of Alaska’s House District 40 after nearly two weeks of counting votes.

According to Alaska Division of Elections on Wednesday afternoon, Patkotak won his race with 52 percent of the vote, receiving a little more than 200 votes more than his opponent.

Patkotak narrowly defeated another Inupiaq candidate Elizabeth Ferguson for the position.

“As we get closer to certifying the election results, it looks like I'll be heading to Juneau,” Patkotak said in a statement. “Quyanapak to you all, I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve and represent you.”

The seat will become vacant in January after Rep. John Lincoln announced earlier this year he would not seek reelection.

The House district is Alaska’s largest, spanning more than 146,000 square miles, and includes the North Slope and the Northwest Arctic Borough.

Patkotak lives in Utqiagvik and has served in elected positions for the last 10 years. He currently serves as a board member of Barrow Utilities & Electric Cooperative Inc. and as an assembly member of the North Slope Borough. Previously he held board member seats with the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, a regional tribe, and the for-profit Alaska Native construction company Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation.

This appears to be the last race including an Indigenous candidate out of more than 100 to be called that Indian Country Today is following.

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com.

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