Alaska Republican Party endorses Nick Begich III for US House

White man in blue blazer
Nicholas Begich III during his 2016 campaign for Anchorage Assembly. (Screenshot/Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Republican Party has endorsed Nick Begich III for the state’s sole U.S. House seat. It’s the party’s first official endorsement in the crowded race.

The Republican Party’s Central Committee agreed to endorse Begich ahead of the state convention in Fairbanks that started Thursday and ends Saturday. 

Begich, 44, founded a software company. He was campaigning as a more conservative alternative to Don Young before the congressman died in March. Begich is now one of 16 Republicans running in the special election to serve the remainder of Young’s term and is also a candidate in the race for full term that begins in January.

Rival Republican Sarah Palin denounced the endorsement.

“This predictable action of the Party establishment proves that the old boys’ network is alive and well in Alaska,” she said in an email.

Palin has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Begich was the only House candidate who sought the Central Committee’s endorsement at the Fairbanks meeting. The party’s governing body often endorses more than one candidate in a race. 

This week it endorsed conservative candidate Charlie Pierce for governor. That’s in addition to its prior endorsement of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s re-election bid.

In the U.S. Senate race, the Central Committee voted last year to endorse Kelly Tshibaka, who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski, though, has substantial support from national Republicans. A political action committee affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this week it’s buying $7.4 million worth of ads in Alaska to help Murkowski win re-election.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.