By BECKY BOHRER
JUNEU, Alaska ( Associated Press) – Sarah Palin on Friday shook an already unpredictable race for Alaska’s lone American home seat and submitted paperwork to join a field of at least 40 candidates who want to fill the seat that by 49 late years. -VSA Rep. Don Young, who died last month.
Palin submitted paperwork to a Department of Elections office in Wasilla on Friday, said Tiffany Montemayor, a department spokeswoman. The paperwork is being processed by the department, she said.
The field includes current and former state legislators and a city councilor from the North Pole named Santa Claus. The deadline to submit was Friday 5pm. A final list of official candidates was not yet available.
“Public service is a calling, and I will be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young has done for 49 years,” Palin said in a statement on social media. “I realize I have very large shoes to fill, and I plan to honor Rep. Young’s legacy by offering myself in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for, because I share that 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 Alaska politics since leaving office in 2009, before ending her term as governor.
Young, a Republican, has held the seat of Alaska’s House since 1973 and was seeking re-election at the time of his death last month at the age of 88.
A special by-election is set for June 11. The top four voters will advance to a special election on August 16, which will use a by-election, a process in line with a new electoral system approved by voters in 2020.
The winner will serve the remainder of Young’s term, which expires in January. The section is targeting September 2 to certify the special election.
Others who filed Friday include Republican State Sen. Josh Revak; Democratic State Representative Adam Wool; independent Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2020; and Andrew Halcro, a former Republican state legislator who participates as an independent. They join a field that includes Republican Nick Begich, who has positioned himself as a challenger to Young; Democrat Christopher Constant, a member of the Anchorage Assembly; and John Coghill, a former Republican state lawmaker.
Revak, who previously worked for Young’s office and was a nationwide co-chair for Young’s re-election bid, said he felt a “strong calling and a duty” to step forward.
He said he was “heartbroken” by the timeline of submission, which coincides with a period he said should be focused on remembering Young.
Young lied in the state at the US Capitol on Tuesday. A public memorial service was held Wednesday in the Washington, DC area and a public memorial service is planned for Saturday in Anchorage.
Revak said he also plans to participate in the regular primary for US House. Palin submitted paperwork to also participate in the special and regular by-elections, Montemayor said.
The special election in August will coincide with the ordinary primary election. The November primary and general elections will determine who represents Alaska in the House 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 the whole of Alaska,” Gross said in a statement.
Wool said he has been discussing a run privately for years. He said he looked at the candidates running in the by-elections and “was not so impressed. Many of them have never won an election, have no statewide recognition and are politically out of line, certainly not with me or what I would think the majority of Alaska residents seek.
Wool, of Fairbanks, said he considers himself moderate. He said he had yet to decide whether to run in the by-elections.
Halcro, who has a podcast on which he talks about politics, said during the campaign that he plans to carry out his intention to just run to fill the rest of the term. He said if the person who wins the special election is also in the general election in November, he expects them to spend a fair amount of time campaigning. He said if elected, he would be focused on congressional work.
Meanwhile, a man who years ago legally changed his name to Santa Claus and serves on the North Pole City Council has also submitted to the State Department of Elections for the special primary. Claus, who has said he has a ‘strong affinity’ with Bernie Sanders, is an independent candidate.
He said he did not raise or raise money. He said the new election process “gives people like me the opportunity to throw our hat in the ring, without dealing with parties.”
“I do have name recognition,” he said laughing.