Politics

Nick Begich, Republican son of Alaska’s leading Democratic family, will run for U.S. House

Nick Begich III will run for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives next year, seeking a job once held by his grandfather.

On Friday, he filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that allows him to begin fundraising for a campaign. An official campaign kickoff will take place later, he said.

Begich’s grandfather, Nick Begich Sr., was elected to Alaska’s lone congressional seat in 1970 but disappeared during a 1972 flight from Anchorage to Juneau. He was replaced by Don Young, who has been re-elected every two years since and now has more seniority than any other current member of Congress.

Begich Sr. was a Democratic lawmaker, as are two of his sons, former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and current Democratic state Sen. Tom Begich. His oldest son, Nick Begich Jr., is Nick Begich III’s father.

Begich III, who lives in Chugiak and is the executive chairman of software development company FarShore Partners, is a firm Republican and is running as one.

“I‘ve been a Republican my whole life, since the first time I registered to vote. I’m a conservative. You know, I think Don Young and I share many of the same views on a number of policies. I would say I’m probably a little to the right of Don, but at the end of the day it’s conservative principles that I hold,” Begich said.

Young is 88 years old, twice the age of the 44-year-old Begich, who said he believes Alaska is “looking for that next generation of leadership.”

“I‘ve got a lot of runway ahead of me. I’m 44 years old. You know, I think I think we’re ready as a state to start looking forward into that sort of next-generation, 21st-century perspective,” he said.

Begich ran in 2016 for a seat on the Anchorage Assembly but was defeated by Amy Demboski.

His campaign manager is Truman Reed, who led Young’s 2020 campaign and was employed by Young until recently.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Don Young and what he’s accomplished in the past, but I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership in Congress,” Reed said.

“Nick’s a really strong conservative. I think that a lot of his policies are in line with Don Young, but I think that Nick’s probably a little more right-leaning,” he said.

A spokesman for Young’s campaign said he welcomes challengers to the race and intends to “take his message of experience and conservative values across the state.”

No Democrats or independents have yet filed for the U.S. House election. Alaska Democratic Party executive director Lindsay Kavanaugh declined to say on Friday when or if a Democrat will enter the race.

The deadline to enter the race isn’t until June 1, and in 2018, independent challenger Alyse Galvin didn’t file until January.

Four candidates have officially registered with the Alaska Division of Elections:

• Republican incumbent Rep. Don Young

• Randy Purham, a Republican from Soldotna

• Gregg Brelsford, a Republican from Anchorage

• Chris Bye, a Libertarian from Fairbanks

Two additional candidates — not including Begich — have filed with the FEC but not the Division of Elections:

• Shannon Scott Evans, a Republican from Anchorage

• Julio Perez Jr., a Republican from Anchorage.

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