As the field of those entered in the June 11 special election continues to grow, Dr. Al Gross, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2020, announced the formation of his leadership team for his campaign to replace Rep. Don Young, who died while still in office on March 18.
Heading Gross' team is former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles, the campaign said, along with Susan Knowles (D-Anchorage), Mayor David Landis (I-Ketchikan), Chief Mike Williams (D-Akiak), Robert Thorstensen (R-Juneau), Former Minority Leader State Representative Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau), Mayor Steve Oomittuk (R-Point Hope), Mac Meiners (I-Juneau), Dr. Steve Compton (D-Anchorage), Greg Cashen (I-Juneau), State Representative and State Senator Mike Szymanski (D-Big Lake), Doug Rhodes (I – Prince of Whales), Nick Szabo (R-Kodiak), Mayor Steve Prysunka (I – Wrangell).
The Gross campaign also announced it will be managed by Gary Ferguson, an Unangax̂ and an enrolled Qagan Tayagungin tribal member from Sand Point and Anchorage.
“We are building a campaign that embodies all of Alaska,” Gross said in a press release. “Our leadership team reflects the diverse coalition of backgrounds, ideologies, and political parties that our campaign is going to unite. While we don’t agree on everything,we do agree that the partisanship in Washington is failing Alaskans, and it’s imperative we elect an independent to this seat who will fight like hell to deliver for our state.”
Gross is expected to officially file for Alaska's at-large Congressional seat on Friday, bringing the number of candidates in the field to as many as 12, as on Wednesday Jeff Lowenfels, a former assistant Attorney General and member of numerous Alaska resource agencies over the years, announced his candidacy.
Lowenfels might be best known for his weekly gardening column in the Anchorage Daily News.
“I am running because we don’t have Don Young anymore to serve us. He, and his staff, taught me the only real job for an Alaskan Congressman is to ensure Alaskans’ interests and Alaska’s issues are not overlooked at the federal level. I agree and believe I can continue the service he provided all Alaskans,” Lowenfels said in a press release. "Again, I am not a professional politician but Don wasn’t either. I don’t intend to become one. Like Don, I’ll speak my mind. I don’t seek higher office. I don’t need a job, but I do believe my experience and skill set enable me to represent you and Alaska at least in the way to which you have become accustomed. Stay tuned!”
According to the Associated Press, candidates who have officially filed include Brian Beal, Gregg Brelsford, Chris Bye, John Coghill, Ted Heintz, Bill Hibler, Bob Lyons, J.R. Myers and Stephen Wright. Bye and Myers are Libertarians, while Coghill, Lyons and Wright are Republicans. The others have not declared a party.
Democrat Christopher Constant, an Anchorage Assembly member has also announced his intent to run.
The deadline for filing for the special election is Friday.