Trump announces his pick in Alaska’s U.S. House race: Dahlstrom

Former President Donald Trump speaks into a microphone at a pdoium
Donald Trump promoted Sarah Palin for U.S. House at a 2022 rally in Anchorage. She finished second. (Kendrick Whiteman/Alaska Public Media)

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican candidate Nancy Dahlstrom in the race for Alaska’s sole seat in the U.S. House.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump called Dahlstrom a “winner” and a “proven fighter.”

Dahlstrom is a former legislator and former commissioner of Corrections. She’s now Alaska’s lieutenant governor. She’s running against the incumbent Democrat, Mary Peltola, and fellow Republican Nick Begich III.

All three front-runners have racked up prominent endorsements. But for Republicans, there’s no one bigger than Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president this year. Still, Trump’s blessing does not guarantee success in Alaska elections.

In 2022, Trump endorsed former Gov. Sarah Palin for U.S. House. But in both the special and regular elections that year, Peltola got more first-choice votes than either Republican. Palin finished second and Begich third. Palin gained votes through ranked choice voting. More than half of Begich voters chose Palin as their second choice. It still wasn’t enough to overtake Peltola’s lead.

Now, Trump disparages Peltola as “unpopular” and blamed Begich for not quitting the race two years ago, which he says allowed the Democrat to win.

Trump, without explanation, also alleged that Begich has “Democrat tendencies.” It’s not clear what he means. Begich comes from a Democratic family. His uncle is former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. But Nick Begich is a registered Republican. He is the favorite of many conservatives in Alaska and nationally, including members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House.

To avoid splitting the Republican vote this year, Begich has pledged to drop out if he finishes behind Dahlstrom in the primary.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her atlruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Lizhere.

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