Just one day after the passing of Congressman Don Young, the leading Republican in the Alaska race for U.S. House of Representatives, Nick Begich, won two major endorsements — the Homer district Republicans, who voted unanimously at their convention to endorse Begich, and the Kenai Peninsula Republican Women, who did the same later in the day.
Begich announced his campaign for Congress in October. Since then, he has won endorsement after endorsement, with over 100 major endorsements from Ketchikan to Fairbanks.
His grandfather, Nick Begich, was Alaska’s congressman when a plane he was traveling in from Anchorage to Juneau disappeared on Oct. 16, 1972. A special election was held and Don Young won the seat and was sworn in on March 14, 1973.
In a twist of fate, Congressman Young died on a flight on Friday, losing consciousness on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle, while on his way to Ketchikan and Juneau for campaign events. He had just completed his 49th year in Congress. The cause was said to be a heart attack.
Again, there will be a special election, as there was when Begich Sr. died.
Although the news of Young’s death hit Alaskans hard, Nick Begich III had already scheduled appearances in Homer and Kenai on Saturday, and was met with unanimous support at both events. Republicans across the state are processing who they will support in the upcoming special election and then in the August primary. With ranked choice voting, many had planned to either vote for Don Young and Nick Begich in that order, or for Nick Begich and Don Young.