Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant kicks off run for US House

A man speaks to others with a mask on
Chris Constant announced Thursday that he’s running for U.S. Congress. He kicked off his campaign at 49th State Brewing in downtown Anchorage. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Congressman Don Young has a new Democratic challenger. 

Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant announced Thursday that he’s running for the state’s sole spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Constant said he’s running as an alternative to the “extreme divisive agenda” he’s seen on display during the pandemic.

“Here’s my commitment to you: This campaign will bring more Alaskans to the table,” he said.

He said he’s witnessed behavior at Assembly meetings that he never expected to see in his lifetime, “with the yellow stars and the gay slurs and the endless hours of extremist arguments.” He added pandemic denial and a “let them die” mindset to the list of elements he can’t abide.

“A lot of tragedy in that room. A lot of sadness and a lot of rage,” he said. “It’s not the best of what makes Alaska.”

Constant announced his campaign during an afternoon event at 49th State Brewing in downtown Anchorage. He has represented downtown on the Anchorage Assembly for five years. He’s a real estate agent and an executive at Akeela, a non-profit that provides treatment for substance abuse.

People wearing masks sit in chairs
The crowd at Chris Constant’s campaign kickoff on Thursday. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Young, a Republican, has been in office since 1973. His other challengers this year include Nicholas Begich III, who is running to Young’s right and recently called the incumbent out on requiring his staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

RELATED: A Republican Begich runs for Alaska’s US House seat, challenging Rep. Young

This will be the first election run by a new system. The top four finishers in the primary, regardless of party, will advance to the general election. In November, voters will rank the candidates, according to preference.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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