Q&A with Alaska U.S. House candidates: Why are you running?

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for U.S. House running in the special primary election to answer a series of questions. Read all of their responses here.

Why are you running for U.S. Congress in Alaska?

Jay R. Armstrong (R)

I’m running for Congress to help Alaskans get our constitutional protections from the federales back, and to take our lands, waters and resources back. I will try my hardest to defund the unconstitutional Washington, D.C. alphabet agencies, and nullify all federal laws abridging and infringing our fundamental Bill of Rights, and protect our freedoms, liberties, properties and more from the out-of-control, back-shooting Washington, D.C. I will be that protection. I will fight for our Rights like you have never seen.

Nick Begich (R)

If we are going to successfully represent Alaska’s role in our nation to the rest of Congress, it will require someone to make what I call the “business case for Alaska.” I support resource development across the board, and I will never compromise on the freedoms guaranteed to each of us under the U.S. Constitution. I’m running for Congress to bring new energy and solutions to the job. I will work hard to provide the leadership and representation the people of Alaska deserve.

Gregg B. Brelsford (undeclared)

The world is becoming increasingly unstable. Many elected officials are wasting time foolishly fighting each other. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caught us unprepared on energy independence, economic alliances, and other things. I will bring new ideas and fight to ensure this doesn’t happen again. People are tired of extreme politics. I am a 21st century, no drama, business-friendly problem-solver, finding the balance among competing needs and rights. This is what Alaska needs in Congress now.


Robert Brown (nonpartisan)

Because Alaska needs nonpartisan representation, and because Santa Claus is running.

Chris Bye (Libertarian)

We can no longer settle for the lesser of two evils. Both old parties have failed us in tremendous ways. If normal typical Alaskans do not step up, the failure will continue.

Arlene Carle (nonpartisan)

Washington, D.C. is a bit crazy right now. Especially the House of Representatives. Alaskans need someone who will give Washington, D.C. a dose of common sense. I believe I’m that candidate.

Santa Claus (undeclared)

I believe all Members of Congress must find common ground, work together to represent their diverse constituencies, and move our nation forward in a productive manner that ensures happiness, peace, good health, and prosperity for everyone living in the United States, including Alaska. Alaska’s challenges include: energy, defense, climate, education, Arctic nations collaboration, infrastructure (broadband-plus), Indigenous, minority, and women’s rights, health, immigration, justice, medical and student debt.

John B. Coghill Jr. (R)

To represent the people of Alaska, to support and defend our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights. Alaska is a wonderful geography that I feel we Alaskans get to host for the whole world and be a voice to our sister states in the Arctic Pacific while sharing the beauty of this great state. America needs to be reminded of its founding principles of liberty, faith in God, freedom of speech, free market principle and more. I feel compelled to step up and help.

Christopher S. Constant (D)

I announced my candidacy for Congress last year, before the late Rep. Don Young passed. When I called Young to tell him, we had a far-ranging conversation. One theme rose above the rest: the sorry state of the current political discourse. I am seeking office to fight for Alaskans, but to do so honoring civil discourse. Don Young and I disagreed on many things, but we spoke with respect for one another and about how the role of a congressional member is to work for Alaska, not national interests.

Otto H. Florschutz III (R)

In my experience, we are at our best when serving and helping others.

Laurel A. Foster (nonpartisan)

Representation in both racial diversity and demographics in Alaska’s government and leadership is important. The people hold a power they have lost sight of when it comes to holding our leaders and representatives accountable for the work that they do, or don’t do. We need to get back to our roots as a population that holds the power in how our government operates. The people have more a voice than they realize, and my purpose is very much focused on making them aware of that voice.

Thomas “Tom” R. Gibbons (R)


I’m running for Congress so the working class people will have a voice in Congress, not just another rich, out-of-touch politician.

Karyn Griffin (undeclared)

To help promote issues around Alaska.

Al Gross (nonpartisan)

We can change Washington, and it starts by changing the people we send there to represent us. I’m not a career politician. I’m a doctor, a commercial fisherman, a father of four, and a lifelong Alaskan. I am running for Congress as a nonpartisan independent. The two parties are controlled by the extreme left and the extreme right, which have paralyzed our government. For me, it’s always about doing what’s best for our people and our state. We need leaders who have one goal: to get things done.

Andrew J. Halcro (nonpartisan)

To provide Alaskans with the best option to finishing the remaining four months of Don Young’s term. Candidates who seek the entire term will spend 75% of Young’s remaining time campaigning for the November election. As someone who will only serve the remainder of the term and won’t be on the November ballot, 100% of my focus will be on representing Alaska during a time of geopolitical upheaval.

Ted S. Heintz (Libertarian)


People complain about career politicians, corruption, that nothing changes, etc. but then they don’t run. I am stepping up. I believe one person can make a difference. I believe I can be that person. I do believe in term limits and will fight for reform there as well. I believe I can leave a lasting positive impact.

John Wayne Howe (Alaska Independence Party)

The Alaskan Independence Party is the only true Alaskan political party, I am running to encourage all AIP registered voters to run for office!

Don Knight (nonpartisan)

I have a desire to get the citizens of Alaska and the United States to improve our government. Congress doesn’t seem to see the problems with our present government, so the people need to get involved.

Jeff Lowenfels (nonpartisan)

I am confident that I have the skills to carry on Don Young’s legacy of making sure Alaska’s interests are remembered during the House legislative process and to assist Alaskans working with the federal government. I confident I can stay above the fray which seems to be consuming our two-party system.

Mike E. Melander (R)

I signed up to run for the U.S. House seat to promote conservative values and represent all of Alaskans, their resources and benefits to the United States

Sherry M. Mettler (undeclared)

Control of “We the people” needs to be in the hands of the people. Government should not be directing/controlling the lives of Alaskans.

Mike Milligan (D)


I’m running to provide differing perspectives to Alaska’s challenges. Developing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a big mistake that will not only hurt our reputation but ultimately hurt the long-term viability of our oil industry. A surrender of ANWR development should only come with compensation, as this would most likely qualify as a “taking.” I count five entities that would need to be made whole from such a “taking,” with the state of Alaska being one.

J.R. Myers (Libertarian)

I seek to represent all Alaskans, not just special interests. I’ve had a lifetime love affair with Alaska since 1964, when I lived in Anchorage as a toddler and learned how to walk and talk there. Now, I would like to focus on leaving something better for the next generations. We have witnessed the erosion of our liberties and quality of lives under the oppressive regimes of the old guard. We can do better. I will be the bold voice Alaskans want, need and deserve to speak truth to distant power!

Robert Ornelas (American Independent Party)

To protect Alaska sovereignty from Russian foreign encroachment.

Sarah Palin (R)


Rep. Don Young left very big shoes to fill and you can’t send a rookie player to a varsity championship and expect results. I have experience advocating for Alaska on the national and international stage. America is at a tipping point. As we’ve watched the far left destroy the country, I knew I had to step up and fight for America’s solvency and sovereignty.

Silvio E. Pellegrini (undeclared)

To be the change agent leading in service of my constituents, the voices unheard, shuttered, or disregarded.

Mary S. Peltola (D)

Alaskans need a federal government that supports us by helping stabilize our economy. Our Congressperson will shoulder the heavy responsibilities of bringing federal money back home and championing the diverse interests of rural and urban Alaskans. I’m driven to build on the good things that Representative Young did for our state and to provide the leadership and advocacy that the challenges of the 21st century require.

Joshua C. Revak (R)

I’m running because every day when Alaskans fill their gas tank, go to the grocery store, or turn on the news they are reminded that the bureaucrats thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. don’t understand the concerns of our state. As a combat veteran, I know firsthand the threats our nation faces. As a husband and father, I know the struggles of filling a gas tank and a fridge. As an Alaskan, I know our country can be energy independent because the answer lies right beneath our feet, here in Alaska.

Tara M. Sweeney (R)

There’s tremendous potential for Alaska and effective leadership matters. Alaska needs a leader with a vision to promote development of our natural resources, maximize our strategic location in the interest of national security and advance the infrastructure that’s necessary for our most remote communities. I’m focused on the future and how we can work together to strengthen Alaska.

David Thistle (undeclared)

First, I would like to return to work in public service. Secondly, I have law proposals that would benefit Alaskans and the nation to restore the public’s trust as we move into the future for current domestic areas. including but not limited to: economy, energy, immigration, policing and secure elections.

Jo Woodward (R)

Alaska’s motto, “north to the future,” best explains why. I desire the best for Alaska on current matters and all future issues, great or small, on the U.S. federal level.

Adam L. Wool (D)

I didn’t see anyone running who represented my views and those of many ordinary Alaskans.

Stephen Wright (R)

To Make Alaska Great Again. By abolishing the Jones Act. Restoring the U.S. and Alaska’s oil production. Reducing federal land management. Reducing regulations on Alaska’s industries. I will fight for pro life initiatives, gun rights and a smaller responsive government with a maximum benefit for the people goal. As a U.S. Congressman I will tell D.C. to get out of our way, work to protect and make our land great again by ensuring a strong national security as we must develop our rare earth resources!

• • •

Multiple candidates did not respond to the survey. They include:

• Dennis “Denny” W. Aguayo (nonpartisan)

• Brian T. Beal (undeclared)

• Tim Beck (undeclared)

• John T. Callahan (R)

• Lady Donna Dutchess (nonpartisan)

• William “Bill” D. Hibler III (nonpartisan)

• David Hughes (undeclared)

• Robert “Bob” Lyons (R)

• Anne M. McCabe (nonpartisan)

• Emil Notti (D)

• Maxwell Sumner (R)

• Ernest F. Thomas (D)

• Richard “Clayton” Trotter (R)

• Bradley D. Welter (R)

• Jason G. Williams (undeclared)