Alaska Sen. Josh Revak has barely been seen in Juneau since the death of Congressman Don Young. He showed up once to make comments on Senate floor in memory of Congressman Young. But since then, Senate President Peter Micciche has been chairing Revak’s Natural Resources Committee, and at times Micciche can barely cobble together a quorum to conduct business.
Meanwhile, Revak is campaigning for U.S. Congress. He campaigned in Washington, D.C. before and after the services for Young, who died March 18. Earlier this week he met with a group of Republican businessmen who are members of the Founders Club, a group that donates large sums to the Alaska Republican Party.
Then on Wednesday night, he and his legislative aide appeared at Eagle River District 22 Republicans’ meeting to answer questions about where he stands on the issues. Eagle River is far from his south hillside Anchorage district. That district has already endorsed Nick Begich for Congress.
Revak is pulling in a state paycheck for being a senator while campaigning for federal office, said some in Juneau’s Capitol. He’s using his professional state-paid staff to attend campaign meetings with him. Senators make a base pay of $50,400 per year, plus per diem when the Legislature is in session. Senators make about $35,400 in per diem for a 121-day session.
“We’re trying to figure out the budget, the PFD, and the sustainability of it, and a lot of senators are frustrated that Revak is MIA,” said one senator.
The Senate attendance has been challenged because several are out sick. Sens. Tom Begich and Rob Myer have both been out with Covid, and Sens. Donny Olson and Natasha Von Imhof have been missing a lot this session.
Revak is trying to raise money for his campaign, so the question is: Is he raising it for his federal race or for his state Senate race? At this point, he is a declared candidate for both seats and no one can see the books until reporting deadlines for Alaska Public Offices Commission and the Federal Elections Commission.
Raising money for a legislative seat is illegal while the Legislature is in session, but Revak would be allowed to raise funds for a federal seat, even if he is essentially a state employee doing so while on state payroll.
Revak will have to decide by June 1 if he is a serious candidate for U.S. Congress, as that is the last day he can file to be on the Aug. 16 ballot for the regular (not special) election. At that point, he’ll have to decide, because he cannot be on the ballot in two places, for two different seats.
Meanwhile, if Revak steps down, the Senate Republicans may not be able to put together a quorum right now.
Revak is next heading to Ketchikan to the Friends of the NRA banquet, where he will be a guest of State Sen. Bert Stedman.