First congressional candidate forum features Begich, Sweeney, Coghill, Palin, Revak

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The first candidate forum of the election season for Alaska’s congressional seat took place in Fairbanks on Saturday at the Alaska Republican Convention. It featured five top Republican candidates vying for the seat vacated by the late Congressman Don Young.

Republican candidate Nick Begich, who has been endorsed by the Republicans’ State Central Committee, came under attack by candidates Tara Sweeney and Josh Revak. Revak criticized Begich for creating jobs overseas; Begich is a businessman with business interests in Alaska, nationally, and abroad. Sweeney criticized Begich for having run a campaign against the late Congressman Don Young.

The crowd was largely supportive of Begich, who received several robust applauses. Revak was applauded for his service to the country in the military.

Sarah Palin opened her remarks by making up with the party after her critical statements to the mainstream media the day before. She thanked people in the room for having supported her in her run for Wasilla City Council, as Wasilla mayor, for governor, on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and as a vice presidential candidate. The day prior, she had slammed the party as a “good old boys network” and said she would not seek and endorsement from such a party.

Begich won applause by starting his remarks by telling the audience of several hundred that he did not consider them a “good old boys network.” That brought loud cheers, and was widely seen as a rebuke at Palin’s complaints about the grassroots activists from the day before.

Sweeney started her remarks by criticizing the leadership of the Alaska Republican Party for having voted for an endorsement of Begich at the State Central Committee meeting before the convention had heard from all candidates. She said it was unfair. Begich’s campaign had spent the effort asking for an endorsement, while no other candidate on the panel had actually asked for an endorsement.

When asked if transgender athletes should be able to compete in women’s sports, Sweeney said that transgenders are humans and need to be treated with compassion as they deal with their gender identity issues. She equivocated on the actual question, which brought boos from the audience. Later, Must Read Alaska asked her to expand on her thoughts and she said that as a former rugby player, she would not want to have to compete against bigger, stronger men.

Sweeney also received murmurs from the crowd when she criticized Begich for having run against Don Young when he was alive.

Coghill reminded the audience that ranked choice voting means that the campaigns by the Republican candidates need to be thinking in terms of it being a team sport. But the shots taken by some of the candidates made it clear that they are seeking to differentiate themselves from the other GOP candidates.

Moderator Campbell asked each candidate who they would vote for as their second choice on a ranked choice ballot, and why. Palin said she would vote for Coghill or Revak. Begich said he would vote for Coghill. Sweeney said Coghill, and it was unclear who Revak said he would vote for but it seemed to be Coghill, while Coghill said he couldn’t answer the question because he thought all of the others were good.

For Congress, there are two elections currently under way: The first is to find a temporary placeholder for Alaska’s only congressional seat until January, when the next one will be sworn in. For the special election to replace Don Young temporarily, the mail-in ballots will be in the mail to qualified Alaska voters — all 586,318 of them — by the Division of Elections. That ballot has 48 candidates on it. The primary election ends June 11 and the top four vote-getters will appear on the special general election on Aug. 16.

Aug. 16 is also the same day that the regular primary election will be held for all state legislative seats but one, for Congress, and for Alaska’s Senate seat now served by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

For that primary election, some who are on the special election ballot may appear again, while new names may be added to that race; the final date to register for the congressional race is June 1.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Some of the forum was live-streamed and from what I saw, Nick Begich looked the best, followed by Coghill and Sweeney. Both Palinnand Revak seemed like sniffly dummies.

    • I hope that there is video of it available.
      I want to hear what they each have to say about the issues, and decide for myself how informed they are or are not.

  2. Josh Revak told me he’d work to keep the statutory PFD system. Then at wheels hit the road time, he forgot his promise to me.

  3. “Revak criticized Begich for creating jobs overseas…” Like all of us, every time Revak shops at Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, Lowe’s, Fred Meyer, etc, etc, he is creating jobs overseas. Just look at the tags on Revak’s shirt, pants, shoes, underwear; they all say Pakistan, Honduras, China, Korea, Taiwan, etc… Even if his car is a Ford or Chevrolet, most of the components are from overseas. Does he avoid the 50% of all food in the vegetable department from South America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand? Everyone in our country is equally responsible for exporting jobs overseas; including Revak. His criticism of Begich is totally misdirected and hypocritical. What a rube.

    • Further to my comment above. It is verifiable that Nick Begich is personally responsible for creating a considerable number of jobs in the USA. I would ask Revak how many jobs he personally created… in his lifetime for that matter? And I mean more than just the neighbor kid mowing his lawn periodically.

  4. Well, I guess if the party is willing to continue to allow Murky to call herself a Republican then Begich is at least as qualified as she is…..

    • Bob you realized that the people who censured Murkowski and then endorsed Kelley Tshibaka are the same people who endorsed Nick Begich!

      Think about that.

  5. These forums should be about who will best represent Alaska, transgender arthletes in sports is not very high on my list of priorities.

  6. Sara as governor shined. You can research her accomplishments for the citizens I wish she would list them herself stand in that governor.

  7. Mike robbins is a hopeful choice. I think republicans need to read bible more, listen to gospel music, and host more group bible study, so its candidates are unified. That line up including the lesser known republican congressional candidates also running are a very diverse group. Makes voting difficult.

  8. All the “moderate” Republicans thought candidate Bronson was “too divisive” to support. Then he won. Shut up and Listen to your base AKRP and you won’t have these problems in the future.

  9. I’m torn. Palin or Begich.

    Palin comes with all of the diva baggage that has been her life for the past 15 years. But she is a conservative and I will undoubtedly vote as such.

    Begich is young and sure sounds as though he is willing to fight the leftists.

    What to do?

    I don’t want the drama of Palin, but God knows we have seen WAY too many “conservatives” get to DC and magically go left (until a few weeks before the next election).

    Palin is weird, but will fight like Trump for what is right. My gut says Begich will be a more measured congressmen but he is still unknown under the pressure of Washington elites.

    It’s a tough call.

    • We already gave Sarah Palin a shot and she signed ACES into law, fired her brother in law at the state troopers, and QUIT. Let’s give Begich a first chance before we give Palin a second.

  10. I’d like to have read about what the candidates think about actual policy.

    Where are you on Biden’s open borders? Do you want hundreds of thousands of illegals coming in each month?

    Where do you stand on the massive, unconstrained deficit spending? Will you vote for budgets that make our 30 plus trillion dollar deficit larger?

    Do you recognize the out of control spending in DC has triggered the worst inflation in 40 years?

    Etc.

  11. I’d vote for a democrat before that traitor Revak, and Coghill lost his state seat because he threw his constituency overboard for Juneau special interests. Sweeney is a Murkowski fan (truly an almost unforgivable sin), and Palin is.. Palin.

    The ranking I’ll use breaks down like this:

    1-Begich -because he’s a grown up and he got in before the opportunists, has beens, and vultures flooded the field.
    2-Palin- like her or not, her brand will force her to vote conservative and she’ll bring attention and connections to AKs one seat at the House table.

    And Honestly after that I just could care less.

  12. I know in a the NEW regular rank choice voting, you vote for your top 4 choices, but all the candidate lists for the replacement of Don Young, I’ve been seeing it say’s “you only VOTE FOR ONE.” So ????

    • This is the confusion brought by the Ballot Measure 2 crowd that forced a false narrative about ranked choice voting. The primary is not ranked choice. Only the general is ranked choice. -sd

  13. Begich needs actual content on his web site. it has bupkis. Standing shooting his 870 is nothing . there are pictures of Obama shooting a shotgun, too!!

    • As in majority caucus is what the Alaska Republican Party has done to you. Thank you very very much. Sorry, True Believers.

      • Excuse please “done TO you”. And remember S.D. was an appara-chick for one of the two parties that have brought us to this precipice. I trust she can put aside her partysanship if the topics of things like LIBERTY, FREEDOM, and LIMITED GOVERNMENT ever come up.

  14. Sadly, I’m really afraid that the left will organize around one candidate, and the ranked choice voting will be between one leftist and three candidates more or less conservative. Which is exactly why the left wanted this system in the first place: to leverage more power.

    The three conservatives will split too much of the vote and we will end up with an Al Gross or someone as our replacement for Don Young.

  15. The same “conservatives” that voted for senile Don and nepotism Lisa, for the last 20 years will vote for RINO Begich.
    Yeah, RINO Begich is a real conservative, sure.
    Then they will all vote for 20 year SwampCreature Tabitha.
    Then they will wonder why the Alaska delegation is so lame – again .
    You can’t make this stuff up – the Alaska public school system has produced a bunch of sheeple.
    Baaaaaaa….

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