Sarah Palin advances — over Santa Claus — in crowded primary for Alaska House seat

Kris Connor / Stringer / Getty

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — Sarah Palin got one step closer this weekend to a return to national politics when she successfully advanced through the crowded statewide primary for the special election for Alaska’s lone House seat.

ABC News projected Sunday that Palin, who is running as a Republican, made it to the special general race in August along with Nick Begich and Al Gross. The fourth and final candidate is still to be determined.

In a statement on social media, Palin wrote that she was “looking forward to the special general election so we can highlight our ideas for fixing this country.”

Among those proposals, she said, was “responsibly developing Alaska’s God-given natural resources, getting runaway government spending under control [and] protecting human life” as well as backing the Second Amendment — amid renewed talks of federal gun legislation in response to the latest wave of mass shootings.

Palin previously served as governor of Alaska and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, before she was named as Sen. John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential race.

That election — which instantly gave Palin a national profile — spotlighted both her popularity with conservatives and the emerging “tea party” wing of the GOP and her stumbles as a candidate, particularly around foreign policy. She resigned from the governorship in 2009, months after she and McCain lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

In the years since, Palin has remained involved in politics: musing about a presidential race of her own and working as a commentator and TV personality.

Her bid for the Alaska House seat was her first official foray back into electoral politics.

Palin supported Trump’s 2016 presidential run, and only two days after Palin launched her House campaign this year, Trump returned the favor. In early June, he held a statewide telerally for her.

Forty-eight candidates in total were running in the special primary, held Saturday, after Republican Rep. Don Young died in March.

The winner of the special general election in August will serve only the remainder of Young’s term; the regularly scheduled election to decide who will serve a full two-year term starting in 2023 will be held in November. (Thirty-one candidates have filed for that race.)

Begich, who is running as a Republican, comes from a prominent Democratic family. His grandfather, Rep. Nick Begich Sr., was Alaska’s sole representative before Young — from 1970 to 1972.

Before running for Congress, the younger Begich held several political roles, including co-chair for Young’s 2020 reelection campaign, the 2020 OneAlaska campaign and the Alaska Republican Party’s Finance Committee.

Gross, a surgeon running as an independent, told the Anchorage Daily News he was seeking the House seat because he wanted to do what was best for Alaskans. He said that his top priorities include creating jobs, diversifying the state’s economy and making the U.S. energy independent.

Gross ran in Alaska’s 2020 Senate race but lost to incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan.

Among the other candidates in Saturday’s special primary was a man named — yes — Santa Claus, who has a long white beard and is a city council member in North Pole, Alaska.

ABC News’ Hannah Demissie contributed to this report.

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