A total of fifty candidates are running in the special election to fill Alaska’s single U.S. House seat. Likely none have the level of name recognition or support enjoyed by former governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
On April 1, an hour before the deadline to file, the former Alaska governor announced she is running for the state’s lone congressional seat, formerly held by Don Young before he passed away on March 18 during his twenty-fifth term in office. Young was first elected to office in 1973 in a special election.
Palin, now 58, filed to run for Congress after hinting that she would consider the opportunity earlier in the week.
“Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for the U.S. House seat representing Alaska,” Palin wrote on Twitter. “Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years.”
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“Today I’m announcing my candidacy for the U.S. House seat representing Alaska. Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years.” – SP pic.twitter.com/pdMpeDGlRV
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) April 2, 2022
According to CNN, two days after Palin’s announcement, she received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. He cited her early support for his 2016 presidential bid and called Palin “tough and smart” while also saying she was “a wonderful patriot.”
After serving on the city council of Wasilla, Alaska, and as town mayor, Palin was elected as the state’s governor in 2006.
Two years later, she was chosen as Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate. While that effort ended with a defeat to the Democratic ticket of President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden, Palin remained in the media spotlight.
In July 2009, Palin abruptly resigned as governor of Alaska and later became a political commentator on Fox News.
Last year, Palin pondered the idea of challenging incumbent Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in her 2022 re-election bid before choosing not to run.
The Hill reports Palin had taken issue with Murkowski’s opposition to the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In addition, she disapproved of Murkowski’s vote last year to convict Trump in his impeachment trial.
Palin’s entry into the race makes her one of fifty candidates vying for the congressional seat. One of the candidates is 89-year-old Emil Notti, who Young defeated in his 1973 special election victory, ADN reports.
The winner of the election will be decided in a two-part process. First, Special Primary ballots, choosing only one candidate, must be mailed in and postmarked no later than June 11.
Once those results are determined, the top four vote-getters will compete in the Special Election on August 16. The winner of that election will be sworn in the following month and serve until January 2023.
While other elected officials are among Palin’s challengers for Young’s seat in Congress, some see her name recognition as an asset.
On April 4, Palin appeared in her first on-air interview since announcing her run. Speaking with Fox News host Jesse Watters, Palin stated that she was prepared to deal with media criticism and offered to debate New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she is elected.
“You know, I would never be so cocky as to say bring it on, but yes, I anticipate that when I walk down that hall to get my diet Dr. Pepper, sure, the jackals are going to be there doing their jackalling,” she said on Jesse Watters Primetime Monday.
As for Ocasio-Cortez, Palin said she is begging and ready for the challenge.
“I will be very polite, and I would beg her to debate me, please, AOC,” she said. “Oh gosh, I want to debate her.”