Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Capital City Republican Women held a GOP forum for a select group of candidates to succeed the late Don Young on Monday night.
The Juneau group invited five candidates – Former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Sen. John Coghill, Sen. Josh Revak, Nick Begich III, and Tara Sweeney.
Former Gov. Palin did not attend the event, which was held at the Baranof Hotel.
As a matter of introduction, each candidate was asked why they are running.
Coghill spoke first to the question, as posed by moderator Benjamin Brown, saying his 22 years in the legislature was key.
“In those years, I learned several things,” Coghill said. “There's a lot of people in Alaska getting up every morning to make Alaska work. And I appreciate that. Another thing I've learned is you have to get along with people and still maintain the integrity of what you believe in. I've been able to do that over a 22-year period. So, when people say I can do that, that's fine. I can say I've done that. The experience I have is the best thing I have to bring to the table.”
Sweeney, the former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs said she is running for the seat because she believes, “Alaska needs collective leadership in Washington DC. I grew up in rural Alaska, and that's helped shape my perspective, the type of leadership that I exercise in my daily professional life, and that is one of collaboration and bringing people together. What we're hearing across the state is that people have political fatigue and they're tired, and they want leadership to start bringing Alaskans back together.”
Revak, a state senator and former staffer to Young, said his military service, and service to the legislature are important factors voters should consider.
“I served in the military, and I think that's a I think that's a real good qualifier,” Revak said. “But I also worked for Congress for eight years, worked for Congressman Young, worked for Senator Sullivan, and then served in the state legislature for the past four years. I think military service certainly matters.”
Begich said he is conservative, despite a last name consistently connected to Democrat politics in the state. He also highlighted his business experience.
“I was raised conservative,” Begich said. “People ask me how in the heck does a Begich become a conservative Republican. I was raised that way … I went to Baylor as an undergrad and got a degree in business, and business is where I spent my career. I worked in investor relations for a publicly traded company and was the interface between executive management and Wall Street analysts.”
Ballots were mailed beginning April 27. In the special election you will vote for just one candidate, and you must return your ballot by June 11. Your ballot must include your signature, an identifier, and a witness signature.
Early and absentee in person voting is available at select locations beginning May 27.
You can hand-deliver your ballot now to any of the five regional offices in Juneau, Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Nome.