Is Revak on the naughty list? In Alaska’s US House race, a campaign goes negative on Santa

North Pole’s Santa Claus (Santa Claus’ Facebook page)

One way to stand out in the crowded race for U.S. House is to have a memorable name, like Santa Claus. 

Claus, the white-bearded city councilman from North Pole, has great name recognition and could be a front-runner among the 48 candidates in the special election.

Another way to stand out? Attack Santa.

State senator Josh Revak (R-Anchorage) at the memorial for Rep. Don Young at Anchorage Baptist Temple on April 2, 2022. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

“My name is Josh Revak and I’m waging a war on Santa,” says candidate Revak in a campaign video.

The video shows a photo of Claus holding a “Medicare for all” sign.

“This Bernie bro legally changed his name to Santa, and he wants Alaskans to accept his North Pole Marxist fantasies,” Revak says in the video, which has a few ho-ho-hos and references to the naughty list.

Revak, a Republican state senator from Anchorage, admits he’s having some fun with it. He says he’s defending the stolen valor of St. Nick. But he also wants Alaskans to know that he thinks voting for Claus is no joke.

“I think what’s important for people to understand is that this guy’s a really, really strong socialist,” Revak, 41, said in a phone interview.

The 74-year-old Santa Claus says he doesn’t mind people poking fun at his name. 

“My message, as an independent, progressive, democratic socialist, is based in love,” Claus said by email, after listening to Revak’s video. “The opposite of love is fear. In Josh’s audio, what I heard was arrogance, ignorance, lies, and fear.”

He rejects the labels of “Marxist” and “socialist.”

Claus has decided he’s only running to fill the remainder of the late Congressman Don Young’s term. He’s running a campaign on $400 of his own money.

Revak hasn’t yet had to report how much money he’s raised, but his team includes campaign professionals. Like many of the other candidates in the special election, he is also running for the full two-year term that begins in January. 

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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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