Nancy Dahlstrom, Alaska lieutenant governor, announces run for Congress

A blonde woman in a blazer smiles at the camera.
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom announced Tuesday that she’s running for the state’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, challenging Congresswoman Mary Peltola.

“I’ve dedicated my career advocating for our military and veterans, protecting our families by locking up violent criminals, and developing Alaska’s natural resources, energy, and jobs,” Dahlstrom said in an email announcing her run Tuesday. 

Much of her message is dedicated to describing Alaska as “under unprecedented attack” from President Joe Biden and other politicians in the nation’s capital.

“In Congress, I will stop Biden and the extreme liberals ruining our future, bankrupting our families, killing our jobs, harming our military and veterans, and threatening our security,” her campaign announcement says.

Her campaign did not respond to a request seeking an interview.

Dahlstrom has had a varied political life that spans more than 20 years, with uncommon turns. In 2002, she narrowly lost a state House election to Lisa Murkowski. But she ended up serving in the seat anyway, because then-Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed her to fill the vacancy after he selected his daughter for U.S. Senate. 

Dahlstrom kept the state House seat until 2010, when she resigned to become Gov. Sean Parnell’s military advisor. She stayed in that job only a few months.

In 2018 she ran for state House again and won, but never actually took the seat because Gov. Mike Dunleavy, starting his first term as governor, asked her to be the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Last year, when Dunleavy asked her to be his lieutenant governor, even Dahlstrom herself said it was an unexpected move. 

Dahlstrom is Peltola’s second Republican challenger. Nick Begich III previously announced his candidacy. 

Begich ran for Congress in 2022 and came in third, behind Peltola and former Gov. Sarah Palin. He said at the time it was challenging to run under Alaska’s new election system, which did away with the partisan primary, because Republican support was split. 

He may find himself in the same position again, assuming he and Dahlstrom finish in the top four in next year’s primary, which would earn them spots on the general election ballot. Both describe themselves as conservative Republicans.

Dahlstrom, as lieutenant governor, is also the head of the Division of Elections. She’s not the first Alaskan to oversee an election while being a candidate in that election. Mead Treadwell was in that dual position when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014. So has every lieutenant governor who ran for re-election.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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