Republican Nick Begich said Thursday he is making another run for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House.
The seat is currently held by Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola, who won it in a special election in August 2022 and again in the November 2022 general election, and who is running for reelection in 2024. Begich is the first to announce his intention of challenging Peltola, nearly 16 months ahead of the general election.
Begich, a millionaire businessman, finished third in Alaska’s 2022 congressional race, behind Peltola and Republican former Gov. Sarah Palin. Palin, who has not held elected office since resigning as governor after her failed vice presidential bid in 2008, has not indicated she intends to run again.
Begich announced his second congressional bid in social media posts early Thursday morning. Campaign spokesperson Michael Horanburg said Begich was not available for an interview.
His third-place finish last year came despite backing from many in the Alaska Republican Party establishment. Party chair Ann Brown said Thursday that the state central committee would not formally endorse candidates until after the party convention in April 2024.
“Nick Begich is a committed conservative with a strong background in public policy. The Alaska Republican Party appreciates his willingness to advance conservative policy and to seek public office,” Brown said in a statement.
Begich self-financed his campaign from his personal wealth to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, primarily through loans. According to an April filing to the Federal Elections Commission, Begich still owed his campaign account $450,000.
Begich has never held elected office but is a member of a prominent family of Alaska Democrats. He is the grandson of Nick Begich Sr., who won Alaska’s congressional seat in 1972 before disappearing in a plane crash. He is the nephew of Mark Begich, who served in the U.S. Senate, and Tom Begich, who served in the state Senate — both as Democrats.
Begich first announced he would run for U.S. House several months before Republican Don Young — who held the seat for nearly five decades — died suddenly in March 2022. At the time, Begich pitched himself as a conservative running to the right of Young and criticized Young for occasionally working across the aisle. Begich has said he is opposed to gun control legislation and to protecting abortion access, which remains legal in Alaska.
Begich was born in Alaska but raised in Florida by his maternal grandparents. He founded FarShore, a software and information technology company worth millions that employs people primarily in India and Croatia, though none in Alaska.
“What we are seeing in Washington is broken: lost opportunities for Alaskans, a focus on so many of the wrong priorities, big government lobbyists and insiders who are selling our nation to the highest bidder, and a President who often can’t find his own way off a stage,” Begich said in social media posts announcing his bid.
Anton McParland, Peltola’s campaign manger and chief of staff, said Thursday that Peltola is “focusing on what Alaskans elected her to do, which is delivering for the state.”
McParland said Peltola, who has hired several Republicans on her congressional staff, intends to continue advocating for abortion access and projects like the Willow oil development that was approved by the administration of President Joe Biden earlier this year.
“She’s just getting started,” said McParland.