Independent Al Gross says he will close the bid for the Alaska House

Juneau, Alaska (AP) —Al Gross, the only independent US House of Representatives seat in Alaska, said at the end of Monday that the campaign would end after a top finish in this month’s special primary. ..

Gross said in a statement that it was “with great hope for the future of Alaska” that he decided to end the campaign. He said, “There are two excellent Alaska Native women in this race who both serve our state. I will maintain the involvement of supporters and be the one who best matches my values. We encourage you to consider casting the 1st place vote. “

He said his campaign referred to former Democrat Mary Peltola from Bethel and Republican Tara Sweeney, who was Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the US Interior Ministry during the Trump administration.

Peltra was 4th in the special primary on June 11th and Sweeney was 5th. The top four voters in the special primary will proceed to the special election in August and the ranked preferential voting will be used.

State election officials will stop counting ballots from the special primary on Tuesday and will prove the race results by Saturday. Gross was third behind former Republican governor Sarah Palin and businessman Nick Begich.

The Gross campaign said he wasn’t interviewing at this time.

Gross’ announcement comes a few days after his campaign promoted support for the electric union and posted a funding appeal on social media that swiped Palin. One such video post featured the word “quit” on Palin’s face. Palin resigned as governor in 2009 during his term.

Hours before the announcement, the Gross campaign posted a photo of him at an Anchorage brewing company over the weekend.

A statement on Monday evening said Gross would withdraw from special and regular elections. Both Peltra and Sweeney have applied to run for the regular primary in August.

Just last week, Sweeney released a statement that her goal is to finish in the top four and she looks “just missing.” She said she was planning to meet with advisors and supporters to determine the “next step.”

A message asking for comment on Gross’ announcement was sent to the Peltra and Sweeney campaigns.

The deadline for resigning as a regular primary candidate is Saturday. The deadline for resigning as a candidate for the special election is noon on Sunday.

Alaska constituency spokesman Tiffany Montemayor was asked if Gross withdrew by the deadline to move the 5th place finisher in the special primary to 4th place. She said the department was “investigating this,” and she didn’t have an immediate answer.

In March, when Republican Rep. Don Young died, the House of Representatives became vacant. Young held a seat for 49 years.

Forty-eight candidates ran for the special primary. This was the first election under a system approved by voters to end the party primary and hold a preferential vote ranked in the general election.

Most of the people running for special primaries have not reported funding to the Federal Election Commission. However, Gross reported receiving about $ 545,000 between March 23 and May 22, which was about $ 86,000 less than Palin in about the same period.

Those who win the special election will fill the rest of Young’s term ending in January. The regular primary elections in August and the general elections in November determine who will serve the regular two-year term starting in January.

Orthopedist Gross, with the support of state Democrats, failed to run for the US Senate in 2020.

However, in House’s special primary, Alaskan Democratic leaders urged voters to choose from six running Democrats.

In a social media post, the party called Gross “pandaling” in a newspaper interview after Gross did not promise to collude with the Democrats if elected. Gross later said he would.