JUNEAU, Alaska ( Associated Press) – The race for Alaska’s U.S. House of Representatives is taking shape, with Republican Sarah Palin seeking a return to office 13 years after she stepped down as governor and two of her opponents, Republican Nick Begich and independent Al Gross, trying to paint her run as insignificant and self-serving.
The fourth candidate to run for office, Democrat Mary Peltola, said negative campaigns and “breaking down” are the “most distasteful” part of American politics. She said she hopes the next phase of the race, a special election in August with arranged-choice voting, will help discourage it.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, referred to Begich and Gross as “stupid boys” who take “pot shots.”
Palin, Begich, Gross and Peltola – in that order – were the top voting writers among 48 candidates in last week’s special primary. The election was the first under a system approved by voters that ends party-primary rallies and sets up by-elections in general elections.
READ MORE: Palin among 48 candidates vying for Alaska House
The four advance to the special election. The winner of that competition will be the rest of the late Republican Rep. Don Young’s term serves, ending in January. Young, who died in March, held the seat for 49 years.
Palin attributes her decision to resign in 2009 to an onslaught of record requests and ethics complaints that she said were frivolous and time-consuming and distracting. She said she “did the right thing”.
Palin largely stayed out of Alaska politics after resigning. But hair is a household name. She has written books, appeared on reality television and conservative media programs, and promoted her work on Cameo, a website where people can buy personalized video messages from celebrities. She was endorsed in this race by former President Donald Trump.
She takes note of her experience in state and local government. She also said she considered Young a friend and did not run against him.
READ MORE: Jury dismisses Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against New York Times
Begich, a co-chair of Young’s 2020 re-election campaign, began running for the House seat last fall, saying at the time that Alaska “needed new energy.”
The businessman talks about his experience in the private sector. He also said he sees it as a race between him and Palin, which he says makes a living as a human Hallmark card making celebrity videos.
“At a time when our nation is facing serious challenges and even crises, it is critical that we send people to DC who are not merely rambling memorized rhetoric, but are deep thinkers with the ability to solve real problems. , “he said.
Begich said he hopes Palin attends more forums during this phase of the race.
Gross, on social media, said he would “always fight for Alaskans – unlike my opponent Sarah Palin, who left the Alaskan people as governor and chose money and fame over hard work.”
David Keith, a Gross campaign consultant, said Gross is comfortable conducting a “contrast campaign” with all the candidates.
“I do not think anything we have done, and I do not think anything we will do, can be seen as nasty,” Keith said, adding that the campaign plans to show contrasts “in a rather sharp way. . “
Keith said it was a “serious time” that required serious talks.
Gross, an orthopedic surgeon, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020 with the approval of the State Democrats.
But in the House’s special primary House, Alaska Democratic Party leaders encouraged voters to choose from the six Democrats participating.
The party referred to Gross in a social media post as “pandering” after Gross in a newspaper interview did not commit to caucusing with Democrats if elected. Gross later said he would.
Keith referred to the post as a “youth act” and said the traditional party structure had been broken.
Peltola, while on the run, was on sabbatical from her job as executive director of a commission aimed at rebuilding salmon resources on the Kuskokwim River. She served five terms in the Alaska House and cited her experience in elected office and public policy.
Peltola, who is Yup’ik, said it was possible to make a difference in a divided congress “by showing up and participating in the discussion, quote-from-a-quote, from a place of love. And I know it sounds cute, and it’s easy to dismiss. It is a Yup’ik doctrine that in order to be productive and successful, you must come from a place of love to your challenges. ”
“Certainly when you come to a very emotionally charged discussion, you can not show up with a list of demands, and look at everyone around the table as your enemy,” she said. Peltola said she learned it as a lawmaker.
She said she was struck by the number of Alaskans she spoke to, who said their biggest concern was to “preserve democracy, politeness, respect.”
A special committee of the American House held hearings on the uprising on January 6, 2021 at the American Capitol.
Palin said Trump “did not incite violence.” She called the people who stormed the Capitol “idiots.”
Begich said Congress should “really focus on the needs of everyday Americans today,” referring to inflation and other economic issues. He said he heard from people “who do not have the ability to fill their (gas) tank completely, people who make difficult choices about what to put on the table, or to get new clothes for their children. It is starting to become a very difficult problem for everyday Alaskans. ”
Gross was not immediately available for an interview.
Peltola said she does not think the country has collectively moved away from the Capitol riot.
“I think it’s important to call an uprising an uprising and that’s part of the way we work through this,” she said. “I do think we have a long way to go to bring people together.”