March 29

By Becky Bohrer

A former state lawmaker and an orthopedic surgeon each announced plans Monday to run for Alaska’s U.S. House seat following the death of Republican Rep. Don Young.

Republican former state Sen. John Coghill said he filed to run in the race to fill the remainder of Young’s term, which ends in January. Al Gross’ campaign said Gross, an independent, would file Friday to run as a candidate to fill the remaining term and to seek a two-year term.

Coghill said after praying about a possible run, he came away with the thought that he “can’t not do it.”

Gross, who made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2020, on social media said he encourages other candidates to “join me in presenting a positive vision for the future of Alaska in the coming months.”

A special primary and special election will decide who completes the current House term. Candidates face a Friday deadline to file with the state Division of Elections to run in the special primary, set for June 11. The top four vote-getters in the special primary will advance to an Aug. 16 special election, in which ranked choice voting will be used. This is in line with a new elections system approved by voters in 2020.

The division is targeting Sept. 2 to certify the special election.

The August special election will coincide with the regular primary.

The regular primary and November general election will determine who will represent Alaska in the U.S. House for a two-year term starting in January.

Republican Nick Begich, through his campaign manager, and Democrat Christopher Constant have said they intend to run in both the special and regular elections.

Candidates who have filed with the division for the special primary include Gregg Brelsford, William “Bill” Hibler III, Robert “Bob” Lyons, J.R. Myers and Stephen Wright.

Young, who died March 18, is scheduled to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. Young had held Alaska’s lone House seat since 1973.

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