US House race in Alaska stretches as 5 p.m. deadline nears

Friday afternoon is the deadline for submitting nominations for the special election to fill Alaska’s only seat in the United States House, after the sudden death of the state’s congressman of 49 years, Don Young , as he returned to Alaska two weeks ago.

The field is already crowded, with 37 candidates officially listed with the state’s Division of Elections as of Friday afternoon, with several more expected to be filed by the 5 p.m. deadline.

Some of the highlights:

Check back here throughout the day for updates on the candidate field.

• • •

Former lawmaker Andrew Halcro joins the race

Andrew Halcro joined the race as a nonpartisan candidate, according to the Alaska Division of Elections.

Halcro served as a member of the Republican state house representing Anchorage between 1999 and 2003.

Halcro considered a run against Don Young in 2010 but ultimately decided against it. He ran for governor in 2006 as an independent, finishing third with less than 10% of the vote.

The rental car company executive has also served as president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Anchorage Community Development Authority.

He previously told the Anchorage Daily News that he was considering running in the special election, but did not plan to run in the regular election race.

Halcro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

—Iris Samuels

• • •

The list of candidates continues to grow with former lawmaker Mary Sattler Peltola

Update1:35 p.m.

Mary Sattler Peltola, a former Democratic lawmaker from Southwest Alaska, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission indicating she will run in the special election for the U.S. House seat in Alaska. .

Peltola is Yup’ik and represented the Bethel area in the Alaska Legislature for 10 years at the State House. She is now the executive director of the Bethel-based Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which helps manage and conserve salmon in Southwest Alaska’s main waterway.

Peltola is also a member and judge of the Orutsararmiut Native Council, the tribal government of the Bethel area, according to his biography on the KRITFC website.

Peltola did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

—Nat Herz

• • •

State Representative Adam Wool enters the race

Update1 p.m.

Democratic state. Rep. Adam Wool ran in the special election on Friday, saying he was forced to run because he couldn’t see any other candidates he would support.

“I just didn’t want that deadline to pass,” he said in an interview. “I didn’t really see anyone on the list of 30 people who I think represented me.”

By Friday afternoon, the Elections Division had reported 33 candidates for the seat, including wool.

Wool had not decided on Friday whether he would run in the regular November election or simply to fill out the remainder of Young’s term.

“Maybe I’ll get such an outpouring of support that I’ll be here for the long haul,” he said.

Wool, who is running as a Democrat, said he backs Lisa Murkowski for the U.S. Senate race and hopes to garner support from across the aisle.

Longtime owner of the Blue Loon — a restaurant, bar, movie theater and concert venue in Fairbanks — Wool is also known for sponsoring the bill legalizing ride-sharing services in Alaska such as Uber and Lyft.

Like Republican state senator Josh Revak, Wool said he would not step down from his state Legislative post at the start of his campaign for the U.S. House.

The primary’s “jungle” format – where the top four candidates from the June special primary qualify for a special general election in August – could work in Wool’s favor, he said.

“With 30 people, I don’t know how many votes you need to get the top four,” Wool said.

—Iris Samuels and James Brooks

• • •

Santa Claus enters the US House race

Update11:35 a.m.

Santa Claus shows up… for the Congress.

The man once known as Thomas O’Connor has changed his legal name and now lives, fittingly, in the town of North Pole outside Fairbanks, where he sits on the city council.

Claus filed paperwork Friday with the Federal Election Commission saying he would run for the U.S. House seat vacated by the death of U.S. Representative Don Young. He also launched a website.

He is not affiliated with any party but describes himself as an “independent, progressive and democratic socialist”.

The 74-year-old said in an interview Friday that he would only run in the special election to finish Young’s term, but not in the regular election in November. He said he considered the race before Young’s death.

Uninterested in meetings with large crowds due to the pandemic, he said he would focus his campaign on Zoom meetings and social media. He also said he would not hire any staff or take any campaign donations.

“Santa Claus believes that all members of Congress should find common ground, work together to represent their diverse constituencies, and move our nation forward in a productive way that brings happiness, peace, good health, and prosperity. for anyone living in the United States, including Alaska,” its website says.

His platform includes promoting the health and safety of children, promoting cooperation among Arctic nations on climate change, and leveraging federal funding for projects such as mid-range broadband access. rural.

Claus’ politics are progressive; a 2020 Anchorage Daily News profile described him as a “vegetarian monk using medical marijuana and supporting Bernie who lives on the poverty line”.

Although his politics differed from Young’s, his unusual take on Washington traditions would be in line with Young’s unique antics, which included wearing a prop cap during a congressional hearing.

“I don’t like to dress up,” says Claus. “So I’m thinking, well, if I was going to Congress, maybe I should just wear the Santa costume.”

—Nat Herz and Iris Samuels

• • •

Original story:

As expected, State Sen. Josh Revak files for House seat

Those filing Friday include State Sen. Josh Revak, an Anchorage Republican who previously served as co-chair of Young’s re-election campaign.

Revak said he would run for both the special election to complete the remainder of Young’s term and the regular election for the new term beginning in January. He said he would not immediately resign as a state senator representing Anchorage.

Other candidates considering running include Young’s campaign co-chair Tara Sweeney, an Alaska Native leader who served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs during the Trump administration. Revak said the two had a “cordial” relationship.

Revak, an Army veteran, previously served as a military and veterans affairs adviser to Young. In an interview Thursday, he said he was “very uncomfortable” with the filing deadline, as many of Young’s acquaintances and former staffers were still mourning the congressman’s sudden death.

The list of candidates who have already announced nominations includes Republican businessman Nick Begich, former Republican Senator John Coghill, independent lawyer and gardening columnist Jeff Lowenfels, independent orthopedic surgeon Al Gross and member of Anchorage Democratic Assembly Christopher Constant.

A special primary is scheduled for June 11, with the special election to end the House term scheduled for August 16. The top four voters in the special primary will advance to the special election, the first to use the state’s new ranked-choice voting system.

The August special election will coincide with the regular primary. The November general election will determine who will represent Alaska in the United States House for a two-year term beginning in January.

—Iris Samuels

This story will be updated as the day progresses.

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