Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom joins the race for the state's only US House seat

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom is joining the race for the state's only U.S. House seat, which is currently held by Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, .

Dahlstrom, who announced her campaign Tuesday, joins Republican Nick Begich III in seeking to challenge Peltola next year.

Peltola won a special election and a regular election last year for the seat, becoming the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress. The seat had been held for 49 years by Republican Don Young, who died in March 2022. Begich unsuccessfully ran in the 2022 House races, which also featured former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Alaska has an open primary system in which the top four vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. Ranked choice voting is used in the general election. Voters approved the change to the elections process in 2020, and the first elections under that system were held last year.

Dahlstrom, a former state lawmaker, plans to continue in her role as lieutenant governor, which she was elected to last year as part of a ticket with Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Part of the lieutenant governor's job is overseeing elections.

In a statement, Dahlstrom said Alaska “needs a proven tough fighter to stop the assault on Alaska from Joe Biden and Washington D.C. liberals.” Alaska political leaders have often been at odds with the administration on resource development issues.