Republican congressional candidate Josh Revak has earned a key endorsement from the widow of Rep. Don Young, who died unexpectedly last month after serving 49 years in the US. House of Representatives, triggering a special election to replace him.
For voters seeking a continuation to Young’s legacy, the endorsement could prove significant in a crowded race that numbers 48 candidates, including several of Young’s protégés.
Anne Garland Walton, Young’s widow, announced her support for Revak in a video released by Revak’s campaign. Revak, an Army veteran, previously worked for Young as a military affairs liaison.
“I would ask again that you rally your support for Alaska’s sole congressional seat behind Josh Revak. And I am certain if my sweetheart was here to do so, Congressman Young would express the same wish,” Walton said in the 30-second video.
Young married Walton, a former flight nurse, in 2015, when Young was 82 and Walton was 76. Both were widowed at the time. Young’s wife of 46 years, Lu, died in 2009.
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Revak, who currently serves as a state legislator from Anchorage, was a co-chair of Young’s reelection campaign until Young’s death.
“It is a humbling honor to know that Anne believes in me and trusts me to continue Congressman Young’s legacy,” Revak said in a statement released by his campaign.
Revak is not Young’s only former campaign co-chair running in the race. Fellow 2022 campaign co-chair Tara Sweeney is also running, with the backing of Alaska’s biggest Native-owned corporations.
Sweeney, who is Iñupiaq, served as assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the Interior Department under former President Donald Trump.
Nick Begich III, who co-chaired Young’s 2020 reelection campaign, is also in the running. Begich, a businessman and grandson of Alaska’s former Democratic U.S. House member Nick Begich, announced his campaign prior to Young’s death. Begich said he would run to right of Young and criticized Young early in his campaign, triggering discontent among Young’s closest supporters.
Voters are tasked with choosing one of 48 candidates in the June 11 special primary election, which will be held entirely by mail. The top four vote getters will advance to a ranked-choice general election set for Aug. 16.