JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage Assembly member on Thursday announced plans to run for the U.S. House seat for Alaska that has been held by Republican Don Young since 1973.
Christopher Constant, a Democrat, made the announcement on social media.
Under a voter-approved elections system that will be used for the first time in Alaska this year, the top four vote-getters in a race, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election. Ranked-choice voting will be used in the general election.
Republican Nick Begich III has been the highest-profile contender to announce plans to challenge Young. Five candidates, including Young, have filed with the state Division of Elections to run in the August primary. Begich and Constant have not yet. The deadline to file is June 1.
Constant, in an interview with The Associated Press, said in discussions around politics in the U.S. and Alaska, “people seem to have lost focus on what’s important, our communities, our neighbors and the future.”
He said he wants the debate during the campaign to be focused on Alaska’s future.
Constant said he is similar to Young “in the fact that I speak plainly and tell people what I think. But the fact is, the difference is, I am going to run not bound by the baggage of, ‘Am I Mr. Trump’s person or am I not Mr. Trump’s person?’ ” He said he is running for the seat to “represent Alaska.”
Former President Donald Trump has been a major figure in national Republican politics. He has endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. Trump also said Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who is seeking reelection, has his endorsement so long as Dunleavy does not endorse Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in her race.
Truman Reed, Begich’s campaign manager, said Trump has not endorsed Begich’s campaign but noted endorsements the campaign has gotten.
Begich, in a statement commenting on Constant’s entry into the race, jabbed at Young.
“I look forward to debating Christopher Constant and Don Young on the issues that matter most to our state and nation. I just hope that Congressman Don Young will respect Alaskans enough to show up to debate and discuss the issues,” he said.
Matt Shuckerow, an advisor to Young’s campaign, said Young “has always welcomed all candidates to the congressional race. While much of his focus remains on his official duties, Congressman Young looks forward to running a strong campaign and earning the support of a growing coalition of Alaskans.”
“As for other candidates in this race, no amount of political ambition can replace Don Young’s experience and seniority in Congress,” he said.
Lindsay Kavanaugh, executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party, in a statement said Constant “knows first-hand the value of community connection and understanding the day-to-day challenges Alaskans face.”
“Alaska desperately needs his fresh energy and community-minded perspective in D.C. to build a sustainable future for Alaska,” she said.