Nick Begich was the only candidate for Congress who showed up for the congressional candidate forum in Ketchikan, hosted by the Southeast Conference. Congresswoman Mary Peltola didn’t appear, and Sarah Palin was on a video screen from what appeared to be an out-of-state location.
Peltola, a Democrat who holds the temporary seat in Congress to fill out the remaining term of the late Congressman Don Young, told the forum organizers that she had to be on the floor for votes.
Begich scored points with the audience, who gave him an enthusiastic applause when he mentioned that the bridge to the airport in Ketchikan was a project that would have greatly helped the housing shortage, but that it was canceled by a politician trying to score political points. He was referring to Palin, who did not respond to the remark. Palin, when she was governor, characterized the bridge to Gravina Island, where hundreds of people go every day to catch flights from the only airport in the region, as the “bridge to nowhere,” and she has taken credit for canceling the project, and using the federal funds for other projects around the state.
Palin jabbed at Begich for having had the nerve to run against Young when he was alive. Begich announced his intention to run for Congress one year ago; Palin announced on April 1, after Young had suddenly died.
Begich was ready for that jab. He responded that when Sean Parnell ran against Young for Congress, it was Palin who introduced Parnell and praised him for challenging Young.
In 2008, Palin said in an ad for Parnell, “Sean Parnell is honest, conservative and smart. He’ll be a great fighter for Alaska, and I’m proud to support him for Congress.” Later, however, she supported then-Gov. Parnell’s opponent for Bill Walker, when Walker challenged Parnell in 2014.
The forum can be watched at this link: