ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The co-chairs of the late-U.S. Rep. Don Young’s reelection campaign have earned endorsements in their bids for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat.
Republicans Josh Revak and Tara Sweeney are among a field of 48 candidates running in a June 11 special primary. The four candidates who get the most votes in the special primary will advance to an Aug. 16 special election to determine who serves the remainder of Young’s term, which ends in January. Young, a Republican, died last month at age 88.
Young’s widow, Anne Garland Young, in a video produced by Revak’s campaign, said Revak had earned Young’s “trust and respect” and that “as the man of unique integrity he is, Josh will work tirelessly and honestly for our beloved Alaska in the U.S. Congress,” Alaska Public Media reported.
She said she had heard Young encourage Revak to run for the seat Young had held for 49 years, the media outlet reported. Revak, a state senator, once worked in Young’s office. She said Revak told Young that “out of respect for him and his legacy, he could not and would not seek Alaska’s lone congressional seat, at least as long as Congressman Young was running.”
Sweeney has been endorsed by the ANCSA Regional Association, which has set up a third-party group to support her bid, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The third-party group, known as a super political action committee, cannot coordinate its efforts with Sweeney’s campaign.
The ANCSA Regional Association board is comprised of leaders of 12 Alaska Native regional corporations. A statement announcing the endorsement said the board’s decision recognized “the historic opportunity before Alaskans to elect the state’s first Alaska Native and female” U.S. House member.
Sweeney is a former assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of Interior and was previously an executive with Arctic Slope Regional Corp. She understands rural and urban Alaska and knows how to work effectively in Washington, D.C. and in Alaska, Kim Reitmeier, president of the ANCSA Regional Association, told the newspaper. Reitmeier did not say if the decision was unanimous.
Other candidates include Nick Begich, a co-chair of Young’s 2020 reelection campaign, who launched his own campaign for the House seat last fall and has touted endorsements from Alaska Republicans and Republican organizations.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican U.S. vice presidential nominee, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Al Gross, an independent, announced a bipartisan campaign leadership team that includes former Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat.