Sarah Palin, Santa Claus Among 51 Looking to Fill Vacant Alaska House Seat

Don Young (R) had been Alaska's lone U.S. House representative for over 49 years when he died on March 18. There is clearly a lot of pent-up demand, as 51 candidates have filed to take his place. A nonpartisan primary will take place entirely by mail. Ballots will be sent out in May and must be postmarked by June 11. 

The top four finishers in the primary will advance to the August 16 special general election, which will use ranked choice voting to determine a winner. Both the all-mail primary and the structure of the election are firsts for Alaska. August 16 is the same date as the statewide primary, where voters will separately choose four nominees for the full two-year term to be contested in November's general election.

The party distribution of the 51 candidates: 17 Republican (R), 13 nonpartisan (N), 10 undeclared (U), 6 Democratic (D), 3 Libertarian (L), 1 Alaska Independence (AK), 1 American Independent (AI).

Some notable entrants:

Nick Begich III (R) From a prominent Alaska political family. His grandfather, Nick Begich Sr. (D) was elected as the state's U.S. Representative in 1968. A plane he was on vanished in October, 1972. Still on the ballot, Begich defeated Don Young that November. Young would go on to win the special election in March, 1973. Begich III is the nephew of former Sen. Mark Begich (D) and current State Sen. Tom Begich (D).
John Coghill (R) Former State Senator
Chris Constant (D) Member of the Anchorage Assembly
Al Gross (N) Orthopedic surgeon. Running as an independent, he was the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, losing to incumbent Dan Sullivan (R).
Emil Notti (D) Lost to Don Young in the 1973 special election. Now 89, he's giving it another try.
Sarah Palin (R) Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Palin entered the race on April 1, the final date for filing.
Josh Revak (R) State Senator and co-chair of Young's 2022 reelection campaign
Tara Sweeney (R) Co-chair of Young's 2022 reelection campaign
Adam Wool (D) State Representative

Santa Claus is also running. He is a councilman in - obviously - North Pole, Alaska. Claus was once the special assistant deputy police commissioner in New York City.

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