Al Gross, running for Congress as a pretend independent, has been trying to stay away from the toxic aspects of his past alliance with the Alaska Democratic Party, which may have contributed to his more than 12.7 percent loss to Sen. Dan Sullivan in 2020. During this campaign for Congress, he’s been walking the line between the two major parties.
But after being excoriated by the Alaska Democratic Party on Monday, he has now flip-flopped. He will, he says, caucus with the Democrats if he is elected to Congress. Gross is running, along with 47 other Alaskans, to replace Congressman Don Young, who died on March 18.
Gross told the Anchorage Daily News of his change of heart in an email explaining his decision … or indecision, as it were.
The Democratic Party on Monday had called him a “proven loser” in an attempt to knock him out of the top four vote getters in the special election primary. They specifically told their voters not to cast a ballot for Gross.
Recent polling by pollster Ivan Moore shows that if Gross is bumped out of the final four who will appear on the Aug. 16 ballot, Chris Constant, a favorite of the Democrats, will have a better chance of getting into the finals.
According to that Alaska Survey Research poll, Gross has a well-known name, but is not particularly well liked. Poll respondents rated him 35%-positive, 46%-negative, 14%-no opinion, and 5%-never heard of him. He’s underwater with no room to grow voters.
As for Chris Constant, who would hope for that Number Four spot on the ballot, poll respondents rated him 21%-positive, 21%-negative, 15%-no opinion, and 44%-never heard of him. With 59 percent having no opinion or clueless about Constant, he would need a lot of money to get his name in front of voters and to sanitize his reputation.
The special election is underway, with ballots due June 11 in what is an all-mail-in special primary for the person who will finish out Congressman Young’s term through mid-January. Polling from Alaska Survey Research and Must Read Alaska show that Sarah Palin and Nick Begich are the frontrunners.
The general election for Congress is a separate race and those choosing to be on that ballot have until June 1 to do so. Congressional seats are in play every two years.