Palin files paperwork to compete in US home race in Alaska

Sarah Palin on Friday stirred up an already unpredictable race for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by filing to join a field of at least 40 candidates trying to fill the seat occupied for 49 years by the late U.S. representative Don Young was occupied. who died last month.

Palin filed papers with an Elections Department office in Wasilla on Friday, said Tiffany Montemayor, a department spokeswoman. The paperwork is being handled by the department, she said.

The field includes current and former state legislators and a member of the North Pole City Council named Santa Claus. The deadline for submission was Friday at 5 p.m. A final list of official candidates was not yet available.

“Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, as Rep. Young has done for 49 years,” Palin said in a statement on social media. “I realize I have very big shoes to fill, and I intend to honor Rep. Young’s legacy by sacrificing myself in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for, because I share this passion for Alaska and the United States of America.”

Palin is a former governor of Alaska and was the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. She has kept a low profile in Alaskan politics since leaving office in 2009, before her term as governor ended.

Young, a Republican, has held the seat in the Alaska House of Representatives since 1973 and was seeking re-election at the time of his death last month at the age of 88.

A special area code is scheduled for June 11th. The top four voters will advance to a special election on Aug. 16 that will use ranked voting, a process consistent with a new voting system approved by voters in 2020.

The winner will serve out the remainder of Young’s term, which expires in January. The division is targeting September 2 to confirm the special election.

Others who filed Friday include Republican Senator Josh Revak; Democratic State Assemblyman Adam Wool; independent Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 2020; and Andrew Halcro, a former Republican lawmaker running as an independent. They join a field that includes Republican Nick Begich, who had positioned himself as a challenger to Young; Democrat Christopher Constant, member of the Anchorage Assembly; and John Coghill, a Republican former lawmaker.

Revak, who previously worked for Young’s office and was the statewide co-chair for Young’s re-election bid, said he felt “a strong calling and obligation” to step forward.

He said he was “heartbroken” by the filing timeline, which coincides with a time he said should focus on remembering Young.

Young lied in the US Capitol on Tuesday. A public memorial was held in the Washington, DC area on Wednesday and a public memorial is scheduled for Saturday in Anchorage.

Revak said he also plans to run for US House in the regular primary. Palin submitted the paperwork to also run in the special and regular primaries, Montemayor said.

The special elections in August coincide with the regular primaries. The regular primary and November general election will determine who will represent Alaska in the House of Representatives for a two-year term beginning in January.

Gross also plans to run in both the special and regular elections. His campaign 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’d talked privately about a run for years. He said he looked at the candidates running in the special primary and “wasn’t that impressed. Many of them have never won an election, do not have national recognition, and are not aligned politically, certainly not with me or what I think the majority of Alaskans are looking for.”

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

Halcro, who has a podcast where he talks about politics, said during the campaign he plans to play up his intention of running only to fill the rest of the term. He said that if the person who wins the special election is also in the general election in November, he expects them to spend quite a bit of time campaigning. He said that if elected, he would focus on Congressional work.

Meanwhile, a man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus years ago and serves on the North Pole City Council has also applied to the state Elections Department for a special area code. Claus, who said he has a “strong affinity” for Bernie Sanders, is running as an independent.

He said he was not soliciting or raising any money. He said the new election process “gives people like me the opportunity, without having to deal with parties, to throw our hats in the ring”.

“I’m recognizable,” he said, laughing.

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