“Today I'm announcing my candidacy for the [U.S.] House [of Representatives] seat representing Alaska. Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years,” Sarah Palin declared in a statement.
Palin's announcement comes a week after she told Newsmax she'd fill the seat “in a heartbeat.”
The sole representative of Alaska, Don Young died last month at the age of 88. Young had been the longest-serving member currently in Congress, representing Alaska since 1973.
“I realize that I have very big shoes to fill, and I plan to honor Rep. Young's legacy by offering myself up in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for, because I share that passion for Alaska and the United States of America,” Palin continued. “I first entered politics 30 years ago, when I was elected to city council in Wasilla. I still live in Wasilla; my family is here; my son goes to school here. My heart will always be in Alaska, even when I'm representing this great state in Washington, D.C.”
2006 was the year that Palin became Alaska's ninth but first female governor, after beating the incumbent Republican governor and longtime U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski (father of Alaska's present U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski) in a crowded Republican primary. Prior to her campaign for governor, Palin held the position of chairperson for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state's top oil-and-gas regulator with a powerful political role in a state that is energy-independent. As the state's authority on energy regulation, Palin earned bipartisan praise for exposing corruption within her own party. Her accomplishments in fighting corruption were highly praised by Alaska voters during a time of turmoil, with many state legislators under federal scrutiny for their corrupt pay-for-play deals with oil giants operating in Alaska.
Palin became a household name in 2008 after Senator John McCain (R-AZ) picked her as his running mate in the presidential race. Her debate with her vice-presidential rival, then-Senator Joe Biden, drew a record-breaking audience of nearly 70 million and surpassed the previous week's presidential debate that featured McCain and then-Senator Barack Obama. The McCain/Palin campaign lost in that election; the Republican Party at large was marred by the 2008 financial collapse and the unpopular wars ushered in by the administration of Republican President George W. Bush. Palin continued to be a popular politician on the national scene following the election.
After her resignation from the Alaska governorship in 2009, Palin became active during the historic midterm elections of 2010, making use of the massive impact of her endorsements and the energy that was generated by the Tea Party movement to usher in a red wave, which returned the majority in the U.S. House of Representative to Republicans. Palin's endorsement has often been called “the gold standard” for conservatives, leading Politico to refer to her as the Republican's “kingmaker.” In 2012, former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) stated that Palin’s support “has more influence in primaries than any other endorsement right now.” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was supported by Palin during his Senate run in 2013, said, “Sarah Palin picks winners.”
Palin was later to be among the first and most prominent political figures to support Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
In her announcement, she mentioned the economic woes of President Joe Biden as the reason she decided to be a candidate for Congress.
According to Palin, “America has reached a turning point. As I've witnessed the extreme left destroy our nation, I knew that I needed to get involved and fight back. The people of the wonderful State of Alaska, like other Americans across the country, are battling with uncontrollable prices, [empty] shelves, and gasoline prices that are among the most expensive anywhere in the world. We require energy security for our country, and Alaska could help in achieving that but only when the federal government gets [out of] the way and [leaves] the market free to do what it does best… At this critical time in our nation's history, we need leaders who will combat the left's socialist, big-government, America-last agenda,” Palin declared. “This country was built by heroes, and the radical left dishonors their legacies by opening our borders to illegal immigrants, mortgaging our children's future, and selling out our nation's interests to the highest bidder.”
The Alaska Division of Elections received applications from Palin and 36 other candidates before the deadline for filing on Friday.