State Sen. Josh Revak, a Republican legislator from Anchorage, leaked to a leftwing blogger on Wednesday that he is running for the seat left empty by Congressman Don Young, who passed last week. Revak sees himself as the heir apparent to the position, and he has the support of many D.C. lobbyists who often darkened the congressman’s door.
If Revak files, it will be the second time in his 8-year political career that he will have filed for a seat of someone who died in office.
For the past four months, Revak has been the co-chair of the Alaskans for Don Young campaign.
He will face Nick Begich, the previous co-chair of Alaskans for Don Young in the 2020 cycle, when Young was challenged by Alyse Galvin.
Revak first ran against Rep. Charisse Millett in 2016 and won the Republican primary, continuing on to win in the general election for House District 25. After the death of Anchorage Sen. Chris Birch, Revak was temporarily appointed to the Senate in 2019 by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and ran for the Senate Seat M in 2020. He won.
“This is very new, and my focus is on his wishes and the wishes of his family, in terms of his legacy and in terms of honoring him,” said Revak, speaking to the Anchorage Daily News. “We’ll think about other stuff later.”
While publicly Revak is saying that he is not running, he has been calling leaders across Alaska and asking for their support. But he has hurdles: If he runs, he cannot raise money for a congressional race, as he is a sitting legislator and the Legislature is in session; state law prohibits it. He would need to resign in order to mount a successful campaign, or slip far behind in fundraising, unless the entire campaign is to be run by the D.C. lobbyist oligarchy, which could raise money and run a campaign on his behalf.
A question remains as to whether Revak can run for both his Senate seat and run for the congressional seat, effectively showing up in two places on the ballot for the District he now represents.
Last week, Revak damaged his own reputation on the day of Congressman Young’s passing, lashing out at Must Read Alaska‘s Suzanne Downing for publishing a story about the congressman’s death. He called Downing the “biggest piece of human waste on the planet.”
Revak may be under the impression that Congressman Young wanted him to take his place some day. It was common for Congressman Young to tell young people that they were his choice as his heir apparent, and it was his longtime strategy for keeping Republicans from running against him. He also said those words to Nick Begich in 2020, and at least one other Anchorage Republican, who has asked to remain anonymous.
Others who may join the race include Al Gross, who has told people close to him that he intends to run. His campaign website for his 2020 Senate race has been recently locked. The last time it was visible was on March 21, when it was last archived in the WayBack Machine.
Gross, who claims his residence in Petersburg, is officially registered as having no party affiliation. He has been in Thailand until recently, returning home upon learning of Young’s passing. Gross ran as a nonpartisan in 2020 with the endorsement of the Democratic Party, including the national Democrats. He was caught on tape saying that he identified as a Democrat and would caucus with the Democrats.
But complicating Gross’ path is that another Democrat has stepped up and announced he is running for Congress — Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Constant.
Former Gov. Sarah Palin has said she is interested in running.