Former congressional candidate Al Gross issued a statement to his supporters on Tuesday morning, with an explanation as to why he has quit the race to replace the late Congressman Don Young: “It’s too hard to run as a nonpartisan.”
“I am a lifelong Alaskan with a passion for this state and its people. I know that polarizing partisanship is not how solutions are achieved. It takes leadership and work. Unfortunately, Alaska and America are stuck right now, and Monica and I have decided it is just too hard to run as a nonpartisan candidate in this race. I still believe that when people with differing opinions listen to each other and work together, problems get solved. Maybe we can reach that place sometime in the future. I hope we do,” Gross wrote.
Gross talked in generalities about what is needed in the U.S. Capitol: fixing inflation, ending partisan gridlock, and engaging in less grandstanding. He outlined points important to him, including bringing government spending under control and expanding Alaska’s role in defense. But wants to expand free health care to all, preserve abortion rights of Roe v. Wade, and legalize pot.
Gross appeared to be campaigning hard and was in third place behind Sarah Palin and Nick Begich right up until the moment he pulled the plug on Monday afternoon, when his campaign first leaked news to a left-leaning blogger that he was pulling out of the race.
By evening, he had posted a short and carefully worded statement of withdrawal from the race for Congress. He gave no explanation.
Gross had earlier agreed to caucus with the Democrats in Congress, but that was not enough for the Alaska Democratic Party, which took to social media to call him a “proven loser,” who could not even win a seat on his local Petersburg hospital board and who had lost to Sen. Dan Sullivan in 2020.
By the time he filed his mid-May campaign finance report with the Federal Elections Commission, he had raised over half a million dollars in funds, much of it from social media, where he said he was taking on the “quitter” Sarah Palin.
Palin issued a statement in response to the news encouraging all of his supporters to take a look at her candidacy”
“Nothing should surprise voters in this unconventional election. In many aspects, new voting systems are confusing at best, and not conducive to growing voter turnout. However, let’s not let that dampen enthusiasm to get government on the right track.
“Al Gross was the top democrat vote-getter. His quitting the race leads to much speculation as to motive, but I’ll leave the speculating to others. My mission is to continue connecting with all Alaskans on the issues most important to our families and businesses, along with strengthening relationships our State needs in order to get nationwide Congressional support for Alaska’s interests.
“I welcome the new addition to the top four, and am excited to continue campaigning on resource development, lower fuel costs, affordable groceries, ensuring individual rights… all to create a brighter future for all Alaskans.
“Now that Al Gross supporters lost their candidate, I hope they will take a look at where I stand on the issues, and how I will never stop fighting for the greatest state in the Union,” she said.
Must Read Alaska has a query on file with the Division of Elections to learn what the process is for deciding if Sweeney can slide into the fourth slot on the special election ballot.
Meanwhile, the group promoting Tara Sweeney for Congress was on Monday afternoon busy asking the Division of Elections to put Sweeney on the fourth spot on the ballot.