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Mark Begich jumps into governor’s race

Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich is running for the governor’s seat in the 2018 election.

Begich, who has been long been rumored to run, first made the announcement to supporters via email Friday afternoon.

“You know me. You have known my family for decades. And you know that I don’t sit on the sidelines when there is a problem to be solved,” Begich wrote. “That’s why I am running for Governor because I know that together we can build a safer, stronger future for all Alaskans.”

Begich, his wife Deborah and son Jacob were set to appear at the Division of Elections office in Anchorage to file his paperwork.

“I know, we took this decision down to the wire and that’s because family was a big consideration,” Begich told supporters. “Losing my dad when I was 10 has made me understand just how lucky I am to spend so much time with Jacob.”

Begich is the son of former U.S. Representative Nick Begich Sr., who disappeared on a flight from Anchorage to Juneau in 1972.

Begich, once Anchorage’s mayor, narrowly defeated longtime Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008 shortly before Stevens’ death in a plane crash. He served one term before losing to former state attorney general Dan Sullivan in the 2014 race.

In his email to supporter Friday, Begich outlined his reasons for running:

  • With the highest unemployment rate in the country, how are we going to diversify our economy so that we not only protect today’s jobs but also build a future for our kids here in Alaska?
  • With the FBI labeling Alaska the “most dangerous state” in the country, when will we finally address the crime and drugs that are ravaging communities across our state?
  • With years of out of control state spending, when will we stand up to politicians that want a piece of your PFD instead of solving the actual problem?

“So, Deborah, Jacob, and I have talked about this a lot and we know what signing up for a campaign and public life means. Most importantly, however, we decided together that nothing would be as hard as sitting back and watching our state continue to struggle,” Begich went on to say.