Nick Begich, the Republican running for Congress for Alaska’s open congressional seat, spent Saturday in the Mat-Su Valley, where he spoke to 75 people at the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club at the Mat-Su Family Restaurant, and received a standing ovation. Several members of the club, including Cathy McCullom, have already endorsed him.
Begich picked up the endorsement of club member Debbie Jarvis of Willow, and several others to be announced in coming days, the campaign said.
Begich launched his campaign for Congress at the end of October. By the time Congressman Don Young had died on March 18, he was joined by six other candidates. After Don Young’s death, another 40 signed up to see if voters will choose them to fill out the seat, either temporarily in the special election or for the two-year regular seat, bringing the field to 48 for the June 11 special election primary.
On Friday Begich spoke at the Fairbanks Alaska Outdoor Council, which had recently endorsed him unanimously, and then attended the Fairbanks Outdoor Show. While in the Interior, Begich learned that he had been endorsed by District 33-North Pole Republicans. He is the only candidate to receive endorsement from Republican districts, which include (new district numbers), District 6-Homer, District 22-Eagle River, District 29-Valdez-Mat-Su, District 33-North Pole, and District 36-Nenana-Fort-Yukon. His endorsements include Kenai Peninsula Republican Women and the Republican Women of Fairbanks.
Politico, an online political news site from Washington, D.C., sent correspondent David Siders to Fairbanks to shadow Begich during his two day travels. Siders interviewed Begich and others at his events.
Siders, who wrote on April 2 about Sarah Palin’s sudden entry into the race, also came to the Mat-Su Family Restaurant for the Mat-Su Republican Women’s Club meeting and interviewed several more people, including Senate Majority Leader Shelley Hughes, who was one of Begich’s earliest endorsements.
Next week, Begich heads to Southeast Alaska, with stops in Juneau, Haines, and Ketchikan.
There are two elections being held for Alaska’s congressional seat this year, each with a primary and a general election. The special election to determine a placeholder for the seat in Congress has its primary on June 11. Ballots will be in the mail on April 27 and that ballot will have all 48 names on it, including Sarah Palin, Santa Claus, Tara Sweeney, and Al Gross. The top four vote-getters in that election will go to a ranked choice voting general election ballot that will be included with the regular ballot for the Aug. 16 primary, where voters will also pick their favorite for the two-year seat.
The temporary congressional member in the special election will be decided by late August. Meanwhile, the top four vote-getters in the regular primary will head to the general election ballot, where voters will rank them in November for the two-year seat. That winner will be sworn in in January with for the new congressional term.