The race for Alaska’s open US House seat is heating up, and Republican candidate Nick Begich has peeled off two key endorsements that could spell trouble – or at the very least embarassment – for one of his rivals.
Mr Begich is battling the state’s bombastic former governor (and ex-vice presidential candidate) Sarah Palin for the Republican nomination in Alaska’s at-large congressional district. In April, his campaign made a surprise announcement: Jim and Faye Palin, father and stepmother to Sarah Palin’s ex-husband Todd Palin, were pubicly endorsing her top rival in the primary over the ex-governor.
Jim Palin even alluded to his former daughter-in-law’s campaign in an ad the campaign posted on Facebook, declaring: "We know many of our elected officials and candidates on a first name basis. It also makes it hard sometimes in picking who to vote for.”
Now, Insider reports that Faye Palin has donated $250 to Mr Begich’s campaign as polls show him winning a ranked-choice matchup in Alaska’s GOP primary, citing public FEC filings; 2022 is the first year the state will use the system after voters approved it in a ballot initiative in 2020.
"Nick and I share similar views on what's best for Alaska's future," she said in her own Facebook ad published by the Begich campaign.
The endorsement is clearly meant to troll Ms Palin and demonstrate that those closest to her supposedly think she is unfit for office. However, it’s fair to say that even if the couple’s son Todd had never met Sarah Palin, they would not be behind her candidacy.
Faye Palin herself ran for mayor of Wasilla in 2002 against Dianne Keller in a race to succeed then-Mayor Sarah Palin, who was term-limited and running for lieutenant governor. The future governor and running-mate to John McCain endorsed Ms Keller over her stepmother-in-law, who is a registered Democrat, in the nonpartisan election. Ms Keller stopped the city from experiencing the reign of two Palins in a row, winning 43.7 per cent of the vote to Faye Palin’s 30.1 per cent.
Sarah Palin last held office in 2009, when she resigned as Alaska’s governor under a cloud of ethics scandals and legal issues that were costing the state and the Palin family millions of dollars in combined expenses. Her 2008 bid for the vice presidency as John McCain’s running mate made her only the second nominee of a major party for such a position in US history, however, her hard-right conservative stances and numerous gaffes during the campaign were blamed by many alumni of Mr McCain’s presidential bid for the Arizona senator’s defeat.
Alaska’s at-large congressional district is up for grabs following the death of Don Young, the state’s veteran former congressman who represented the district for 49 years.