Republican Nick Begich III is officially running for Alaska’s sole House seat, challenging incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola in a partial repeat of the 2020 contest.
Congressional candidate Nick Begich drew close to 150 people to his fundraiser in the Lake Hood area on Tuesday evening. It was at the same time that Rep. Mary Peltola had a telephone town hall meeting with Alaskans.
Begich reminded his supporters of some of the things that Peltola has done since taking office last year, including voting against parents rights, against public safety, and having the worst record for no-show on votes than all but 11 other members of Congress.
This news comes after the state GOP’s roster of candidates to challenge Peltola was looking pretty sparse.
Bernadette Wilson, who emceed the event, said that before Nick decided to run for Congress for a second time, he and many other leaders, including herself, called Republican activists across the state for weeks on end to see if anyone else was interested in running against Peltola.
After numerous conversations, it was clear no one was interested, Wilson said. Recognizing that the last thing he wanted to do is end up with multiple credible GOP candidates, Begich said that was a deciding factor, and he agreed to run again.
In 2022 general election race, he ended up with 5,000 votes less than second-place Sarah Palin, who has since closed her campaign account.
Turnout for Nick’s first campaign appearance was pretty good, by Alaska standards. Being a state over three times the size of Texas with the population of Wyoming, smaller crowds are the norm.
https://t.co/HutnatSEBZ Big turnout. Meanwhile, Peltola was phoning it in for her town hall.
— Must Read Alaska (@MustReadAlaska) August 30, 2023
Sarah Palin has not expressed any interest (yet) in another shot at elected office. The 2020 election that saw Peltola elected for her first full term as Alaska’s sole Representative was also our first general election using ranked-choice voting, and aside from the rather confusing process, it is generally regarded that having two GOP candidates (Begich and Palin) against one Democrat may have hurt the GOP’s chances of holding the seat. With Sarah Palin out of the picture, the 2024 contest may be very different.
It’s an interesting time to be an Alaskan. Since before WW2, Alaska has been a key strategic location; aircraft from the Great Land can cover much of the Arctic region, and both China and Russia are reviving the old Cold War practice of trailing their coats down the Alaska coast. Alaska has a heavy military presence and tends to favor candidates who understand Alaska’s strategic position.
Nick Begich III, interestingly, comes from an old Alaska family of Democrat politicians. His grandfather, Nick Begich, held Alaska’s sole House seat from January of 1971 until October of 1972, and was replaced by Republican Don Young after the senior Begich disappeared while flying from Anchorage to Juneau. His uncle Mark Begich, also a Democrat, was Mayor of Anchorage and served one term in the Senate after defeating Republican Ted Stevens in 2008. Mark Begich was in turn defeated in 2014 by Republican Dan Sullivan. This solidly Democratic family history has in the past raised some questions about Nick Begich III among Alaskan Republicans, but his policy positions are all solidly in line with the GOP.
Nick Begich’s official campaign site is up and running.
In other major Alaska news, the famous Talkeetna Halibut Taco stand has inexplicably exploded. As I said, it’s an interesting time to be an Alaskan.