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Battle for The Last Frontier: Republicans look to take back historically GOP-held House seat in Alaska

Rep. Mary Peltola is the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the House of Representatives in nearly 50 years and aims to keep her seat in Congress after the seat flips from red to blue in 2022.

More than a year has passed since Peltola, who served in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years, was sworn in as the sole voice of Alaskans in the U.S. House of Representatives. But Mr. Peltola’s loyalty to his party prevents him from addressing constituent concerns on Capitol Hill, according to two leading Republicans seeking to expel him from Congress.

“Voters are furious,” Alaska Republican House candidate Nick Begich III told Fox News Digital about Peltola’s record in office so far.

Peltola was first elected to the House of Representatives in an August 2022 special election to replace 49-year Republican incumbent Don Young, who died five months ago. She won the state general election later that year and served her full term.

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Alaska Congressional candidates (left to right): Nick Begich III, Congresswoman Mary Peltola, and Alaska Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom. (Getty Images, Nancy Dahlstrom Campaign)

“She could run a fairly moderate campaign in tone and intent in 2022,” Begich said of Peltola. “She liked to keep citing the late Congressman Don Young as the centerpiece of her campaign message. But the reality is that she doesn’t care about the kind of people Don Young would have once voted for. I didn’t vote for anything.”

Begich’s father represented the state’s large congressional district in the early 1970s and previously ran for Congress to represent Alaska during the 2022 election cycle.

Begich pointed to Peltola’s record in Congress, arguing that his actions contributed to the inflationary pressures felt across the country, saying: “I’ve never seen a spending plan that I didn’t like.” .

“She’s a big government, big spending liberal Democrat,” the Alaska native said. “She’s not interested in balancing the budget, she’s not interested in making sure our country remains on solid financial footing. She’s just trying to find any package that can buy her home country votes. I’m just curious.”

Begich, who has received support from Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donald and former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, emphasized that he believes Peltola won the Congress, “ostensibly as an outsider candidate. “I ran for office and quickly became an insider candidate in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

“She continues to see government as the ultimate solution to life’s problems,” Begich added of the Alaska congressman. “She doesn’t believe in the importance of the private sector… SHe seems to believe that the private sector is the enemy and the government is the friend. I couldn’t agree with her more. ”

Alaska Republican Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom, who, like Begich, announced a campaign to unseat Peltola last November, said Peltola’s legislative history proves she is not the person Alaskans need. He said he believed he was doing so.

“We like Mary as a person, but we don’t like her voting record. She does not speak for Alaskans,” Dahlstrom told Fox.

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Mary Peltola

Congresswoman Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) poses for a portrait in her Capitol office on July 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Javin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Dahlstrom said his values ​​differ from those of his fellow senators, pointing to Peltola’s support for Biden’s re-election as evidence. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in December, Peltola said Biden’s “mental acuity is exceptional” and that he was “the brightest, sharpest person” he had met in Washington, D.C. He claimed to be one of the.

“I’m a law-and-order guy,” Dahlstrom said. “My values ​​and Mary’s values ​​are a little different. Mary supports Biden’s re-election and thinks Biden needs to step down.”

“Mary is a wonderful woman, but we need a strong, strong candidate who will keep our country safe and start thriving again,” added Dahlstrom, whose campaign includes Alaska Republican Gov. He added that he has support from Mike Dunleavy and House Speaker Mike Johnson. R-ra.

Mr. Peltola, who chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, a group that calls itself “fiscally responsible Democrats,” has faced criticism for a number of actions he has taken in the House since becoming a lawmaker. Last October, she voted against HR 4394, a spending bill that included $26 million in critical funding for several port projects in Alaska, including more than $12.5 million for the Port of Anchorage.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Peltola’s vote against the spending bill jeopardizes the timely completion of these critical repairs,” said Bill Ball, an Alaska engineer and surveyor with 40 years of experience. says. I remembered those days In an editorial in the Anchorage Daily News. “By voting ‘no,’ she has effectively signaled to her colleagues in Congress that Alaska’s port infrastructure is not a priority. This recognition will allow her to address these pressing challenges.” Securing the federal funding needed to do so could be significantly more difficult.”

“Mr. Peltora said he voted against the bill because he believed it would defund the Denali Commission, when in fact the bill does not fully fund the Denali Commission. This turned out to be a mistake, as it included “Securing funding for important projects in Alaska. But whatever the reason, her negative vote unintentionally undermined the effort.” I enlisted the help of colleagues to do this,” Ball added.

Alaska Republican Party Chair Ann Brown joined Begich and Dahlstrom in criticizing Peltola, saying she was the only person representing the state with “one embarrassment after another.” insisted.

“Living in Alaska in Washington, D.C. can help or hurt us. Having Mary Peltola as our sole representative is one embarrassment after another. ” Brown told FOX News Digital. “Rep. Peltola has served the interests of progressives in the Lower 48 states by attacking our way of life, our jobs, and our businesses, especially in Alaska, which is home to many military families and veterans. That’s why she voted against military pay increases and VA.”Last year’s funding was so devastating. ”

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Mary Peltola

Women of Impact honorees Ashley Biden, Elena Velez, Congresswoman Mary Peltola, and Oriak Njoku attend the Women of Impact Award hosted by ELLE at Ciel Social Club in Washington, DC on April 28, 2023. Attended the Impact Celebration. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images, ELLE)

The congressman said it was clear that Peltola was “more interested in serving the interests of the Biden administration than the interests of ordinary Alaskans,” and called him “a presidential candidate with obvious mental decline.” I fully support it,” he added. ”

The Republican campaign to remove Mr. Peltola from office is also an effort supported by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), both of which are helping Republicans maintain their House majority. There is.

Alaska’s at-large congressional district is one of more than 30 seats in the state. The NRCC identified 2024 as a “perfect pickup” opportunity for Republicans. Last year, the House Republican Party’s campaign arm launched an ad targeting Mr. Peltola, who votes against military pay increases.

The ad, titled “Under Attack,” targets military bases across Alaska and states that “our soldiers are under attack,” and voted against a House defense spending package that included 5.2% last year. He blamed Mr. Peltola. salary increase For the military.

Additionally, this ad hit Peltola with: vote against all at once A bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and veterans benefits with other House Democrats.

“Alaska is one of the Republicans’ best pick-up opportunities as a red state with Joe Biden in control of Congress,” NRCC spokesman Ben Petersen told Fox News Digital. “Mary Peltola broke her promise and instead sided with Biden and the ultra-liberals’ plan to destroy Alaska. That’s why Alaskans will elect a strong Republican this fall.”

Like NRCC, CLF is expected to target Peltra with thousands of dollars worth of digital advertising later this spring.

“Mary Peltola presents herself as above political fray, but her record speaks the truth. Peltola has repeatedly rubber-stamped Biden’s disastrous policies that are undermining the Alaskan way of life.” “CLF communications director Courtney Parella told FOX.

Mary Peltola

Alaska Democratic Representative Mary Peltola (center) attends voting for Speaker of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 17, 2023.

Peltola’s campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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Alaska’s primary election will be ranked-choice voting and will be held on August 24th. The four candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the state general election on November 5th.

In 2020, Alaska voters approved making the primary public and switching to ranked-choice voting in the general election. Behind this successful push was the activism of Alaskans demanding better elections. Proponents of ranked-choice voting argue that it gives voters more choice and steers candidates who need a coalition of support to win away from negative campaigning. Opponents say the process is confusing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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