Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate under Senator John McCain, is running for Congress, shaking up an already unpredictable race for Alaska's lone U.S. House seat. Palin, who shared the news on her Twitter account Friday, now joins a field of at least 40 candidates seeking to fill the seat that had been held for 49 years by the late-U.S. Rep. Don Young.
"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," she wrote in a statement announcing her candidacy. "I realize that i have very big shoes to fill, and I plan to honor Rep. Young's legacy by offering myself up in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for, because I share that passion for Alaska and the United States of America."
Palin filed paperwork Friday, which was being processed by the Division of Elections, said Tiffany Montemayor, a division spokesperson.
The field includes current and former state legislators and a North Pole city council member named Santa Claus. The deadline to file was 5 p.m. Friday.
Young, who served as the dean of the House,on March 19 at the age of 88. He had served in the House for nearly half a century.
Others who filed Friday include Republican state Sen. Josh Revak; Democratic state Rep. Adam Wool; independent Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2020; and Andrew Halcro, a former Republican state lawmaker who is running as an independent. They join a field that includes Republican Nick Begich, who had positioned himself as a challenger to Young; Democrat Christopher Constant, an Anchorage Assembly member; and John Coghill, a Republican former state lawmaker.
Palin is a former Alaska governor and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. She has kept a low profile in Alaska politics since leaving office in 2009, before her term as governor ended.
Revak, who previously worked for Young's office and was a statewide co-chair for Young's reelection bid, said he felt a "strong calling and a duty" to step forward.
He said he was "heartbroken" by the filing timeline, coinciding with a period he said should be focused on remembering Young.
Young lied in state at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. A public memorial was held in the Washington, D.C.-area on Wednesday and a public memorial is planned in Anchorage on Saturday.
Ato fill his vacant seat will be held this summer, with a primary slated for June 11 and a special general election on August 16, the same date as Alaska's regularly scheduled primaries.
The winner of the special election will finish the remainder of Young's term, which ends in January 2023.
In her announcement Friday, Palin said the country "is at a tipping point," and spoke of the need to address "out-of-control inflation, empty shelves, and gas prices that are among the highest in the world."
"I'm in this race to win it and join the fight for freedom alongside other patriots willing to sacrifice all to save our country," Palin said.
Aaron Navarro contributed reporting.
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