Nick Begich announces 2024 run against Peltola for U.S. Congress
July 19, 2023
Nick Begich III, a Republican candidate who lost to Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola in last year’s races for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, said Thursday, July 13, that he will run against Peltola again in 2024.
Peltola hasn’t announced a re-election campaign but has been raising money and has a campaign manager.
In an August special ranked-choice election to replace Young, Begich finished third out of three candidates, behind Peltola and fellow Republican Sarah Palin.
Post-election analysis of all ranked-choice ballots indicated that had Begich finished ahead of Palin, he would have been the eventual winner after Palin voters’ second choices were tabulated. Instead, About half of the voters who picked Begich as their first choice went on to select Peltola or no one as their second option, and Palin failed to earn the votes she needed to pass Peltola.
Begich also finished behind Peltola and Palin in the November election for a full two-year term.
Next year will be different, Begich said. The congressional race will be the only statewide contest on the ballot (excepting any ballot measures), it won’t have the dozens of candidates who vied to replace Young, and Peltola has established a voting record in the House, giving candidates something to run against.
“I think we’ll have a better opportunity to draw a contrast,” Begich said in an interview last week.
“We’re really trying to run a positive campaign that talks about the future of Alaska, the opportunities that lie in front of us, the fact that Alaska has nearly every critical mineral on the critical minerals list at a time when we’re pivoting away from China,” Begich said.
He said he wants to run a positive campaign while also pointing out differences between himself and Peltola. One example: He would have voted in favor of the Republican-backed “Parents Bill of Rights” that passed the House without Peltola’s support this year.
Begich, a Republican in Alaska’s best-known Democratic family, is the grandson of former Rep. Nick Begich Sr., the Democrat who represented Alaska in the U.S. House from 1971 until his death in a 1972 plane crash.
He’s the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and the nephew of former state Sen. Tom Begich, D-Anchorage.
Begich’s father, Nick Begich Jr., has not held elective office but has been active in third-party politics, including once serving as the keynote speaker of the Alaskan Independence Party’s convention.
Thus far, Begich III and Peltola are the only candidates who have taken concrete steps toward running for U.S. House. The official signup deadline isn’t until next summer.
The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization. Alaskabeacon.com. The Wrangell Sentinel added reporting for this story.