NATIONAL NEWS

Palin joins 50 others in running for Alaska US House seat

Apr 2, 2022, 11:08 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:36 pm
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks with reporters as she leaves federal court on Feb. 14, 20...
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks with reporters as she leaves federal court on Feb. 14, 2022 in New York City. On Monday U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff announced that he is set to dismiss Palin's lawsuit against the New York Times stating that Palin failed to show that the NYT acted with "actual malice," the standard for public figures to prove defamation, after the conclusion of the juries deliberation. Palin sued the NYT and its former editorial page editor James Bennet stating that a June 14, 2017, editorial incorrectly linked her to a mass shooting six years earlier that wounded Democratic U.S. congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The Times corrected the editorial about 14 hours later. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin on Friday shook up an already unpredictable race for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, joining a field of 50 other candidates seeking to fill the seat held for decades by the late-U.S. Rep. Don Young, who died last month.

Palin filed paperwork Friday with a state Division of Elections office in Wasilla, said Tiffany Montemayor, a division spokesperson.

Palin, a former Alaska governor who was the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has the biggest national political profile in the packed field that includes current and former state legislators and a North Pole city council member named Santa Claus.

“Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years,” Palin said in a statement on social media.

Young, a Republican, had held Alaska’s House seat since 1973 and was seeking reelection at the time of his death last month at age 88.

Others in the flurry of filings before Friday’s deadline were state Sen. Josh Revak and Tara Sweeney, who are both Republicans and were the statewide co-chairs of Young’s reelection campaign.

Palin resigned as governor in 2009, partway through her term, and said she could make a difference outside the governor’s office. She also had expressed outrage over ethics complaints she felt had frivolously targeted her.

Palin has kept a low profile in Alaska politics since then but maintained a presence nationally, including through speaking engagements, appearances with conservative outlets and on reality TV. She also was an early supporter of now-former President Donald Trump.

She has hinted at possible runs for office in the past but never took the plunge. In her statement Friday, she said America is “at a tipping point” and that she’s in the race to “win it and join the fight for freedom alongside other patriots willing to sacrifice all to save our country.”

A special primary is set for June 11. The top four vote-getters will advance to an Aug. 16 special election in which ranked choice voting will be used, a process in line with a new elections system approved by voters in 2020.

The winner, targeted to be certified by Sept. 2, will serve the remainder of Young’s term, which expires in January.

The special election will coincide with the regular primary. The regular primary and November general election will determine who represents Alaska in the House for a two-year term starting in January.

Others who filed Friday include Democratic state Rep. Adam Wool; independent Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2020; and Emil Notti, a Democrat who narrowly lost the 1973 election to Young. Former lawmakers Andrew Halcro and Mary Sattler Peltola are also running.

They join a field that had already included Republican Nick Begich, who previously announced plans to run for U.S. House last fall; Democrat Christopher Constant, an Anchorage Assembly member; and John Coghill, a Republican former state lawmaker.

Begich, an early challenger to Young, said he sees the Matanuska-Susitna region, a hotbed of conservatism that includes Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, as one of his strongest areas of the state.

Begich said there are a “lot of opportunistic candidates, in our view, that have chosen to get in. I think that the entry of Gov. Palin is completely consistent with that sort of spirit of opportunism that we’re seeing right now.”

Revak, who previously worked for Young’s office, said he felt a “strong calling and a duty” to step forward.

He said he was “heartbroken” by the filing timeline, coinciding with a period he said should be focused on remembering Young. Young lied in state at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. A public memorial was held in the Washington, D.C.-area on Wednesday and a public memorial is planned in Anchorage on Saturday.

Revak said he also plans to run in the regular primary for U.S. House. Palin, Begich, Constant, Gross and Peltola are also among those who have filed to run in both. Sweeney in a statement said she planned to run in both.

Sweeney is a former assistant secretary of Indian Affairs with the U.S. Department of Interior.

“This weekend I will join my fellow Alaskans in honoring the life and legacy of Congressman Young,” she said in a statement. “For nearly 50 years he fought tirelessly for our state and he sets the bar for what it means to serve.”

She said she is excited to share her vision for the future in the coming weeks.

Gross’ campaign has announced a leadership team that includes several Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, including former Gov. Tony Knowles.

“We are building a campaign that embodies all of Alaska,” Gross said in a statement.

Wool said he has privately discussed a run for years. He said earlier in the day Friday that he looked at the candidates running in the special primary and “wasn’t that impressed. Many of them have never won an election, don’t have any statewide recognition and politically aren’t aligned certainly not with me or what I would think the majority of Alaskans are looking for.”

Wool, from Fairbanks, said he considers himself moderate. He said he has yet to decide whether to run in the regular primary.

Halcro, who has a podcast on which he talks politics, lost to Palin in the 2006 gubernatorial general election. He said during this campaign he plans to play up his intent to only run to fill the remainder of the term. He is running as an independent.

He said if the person who wins the special election also is in the November general election, he expects they would spend a fair amount of time campaigning. He said if elected, he would be focused on congressional work.

Peltola, a Democrat from Bethel, noted the long list of candidates and said there is “obviously a lot of pent-up desire to serve our state.” She said Alaska is diverse and that “it’s important to me that the field of candidates also reflects Alaska’s diversity.” Peltola is Yup’ik Eskimo.

Meanwhile, a man who years ago legally changed his name to Santa Claus and serves on the North Pole city council also filed for the special primary. Claus, who said he has a “strong affinity” for Bernie Sanders, is running as an independent.

He said he is not soliciting or raising money. He said the new elections process “gives people like me an opportunity, without having to deal with parties, to throw our hat in the ring.”

“I do have name recognition,” he said with a laugh.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

J. Alexander Kueng, the former Minneapolis police officer who assisted in the fatal restraint of Ge...
Ray Sanchez and Brad Parks, CNN

Former police officer who helped restrain George Floyd sentenced to 3.5 years in prison

A former Minneapolis police officer who assisted in the fatal restraint of George Floyd was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison Friday for his role in the killing.
1 day ago
U.S. Sen. Kyrtsen Sinema (D-AZ) speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for...
JONATHAN J. COOPER and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema switches to independent

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says she has switched her registration to independent.
1 day ago
Oranges lay on the ground near a tree after hurricane Ian hit V.C. Holllingsworth's, III, orange gr...
CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

U.S. officials say Florida's seasonal orange production is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions.
1 day ago
Questions surround negotiations for prisoner swap to free Brittney Griner...
LEKAN OYEKANMI and ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Griner in ‘good spirits’ in US after Russian prisoner swap

Brittney Griner returned to the United States Friday and was reunited with her wife nearly 10 months after her detention in Russia made the basketball star the most high-profile American jailed abroad and set off a political firestorm.
1 day ago
JIm Beam is selling hug-simulating pajamas for the holidays.
Mandatory Credit:	Jim Beam...
Parija Kavilanz, CNN

Jim Beam offers novel fix for holiday blues: hug-simulating pajamas

Bourbon brand Jim Beam is offering what could possibly be the weirdest gift for the holidays — hug-simulating pajamas.
1 day ago
Patrick Giblin in an undated arrest photo. He portrayed himself to women as a wealthy romantic look...
Faith Karimi, CNN

A fake Romeo charmed over 100 women, then scammed them

Patrick Giblin was like the American version of the "Tinder Swindler" -- but without the private jets.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Palin joins 50 others in running for Alaska US House seat