Alaska House special race contestant comes from an NJ family
A candidate for an open house seat in Alaska has ties to New Jersey.
Dr. Al Gross, who made a strong but unsuccessful bid for a 2020 US Senate seat in Alaska, will run for the seat left vacant by the death of 25-term Republican Don Young on March 18 at age 88.
Her father, Avrum Gross, grew up in South Orange and West Orange before moving to Alaska in the 1960s.
After law school, Avrum Gross worked for the Alaska Legislative Affairs Agency – their version of the Office of Legislative Services – where he befriended a young state legislator and bush pilot. named Jay Hammond.
After Hammond was elected governor in 1974 – he beat a former Democratic governor by just 287 votes statewide – he chose Average grossa Democrat, as Attorney General for the State of Alaska.
Al Gross’ grandfather, Joel, was a lawyer in Newark and chaired the Essex County United Jewish Appeal. In 1948, when former Vice President Henry Wallace organized an independent campaign for the presidency, Joel Gross served as Vice President of the new Independent Progressive Party. He previously served as a board member of the New Jersey Independent Citizens League.
His uncle, Benoit Grosis a professor of mathematics and former dean of Harvard.
Gross is an orthopedic surgeon, a commercial fisherman who came to prominence after running advertisements about how he killed a bear in self-defense.
Al Gross faced Republican U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan as an independent with the support of the Alaska Democratic Party. He lost 54% to 41% despite public polls showing the race was tight.
Election officials in Alaska have scheduled a primary for June 11, with the top four voters qualifying for a special election on August 16, where preferential-choice voting will be used to choose a new member of Congress.
Gross says he will also run in the November general election for a full term.
Nick Begich III, a 44-year-old software company executive, a Republican whose grandfather was Young’s predecessor, is already in the running.
Young won a special election in 1973 after Rep. Nick Begich, a Democrat, was pronounced dead.
Begich had been campaigning for re-election to a second term when a small plane carrying him and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs on a campaign trail in Alaska went missing. The plane or the remains of the two members of Congress have never been found. Begich was posthumously re-elected in 1972, beating Young by twelve percentage points.
Boggs also had ties to New Jersey. His daughter was Barbara Boggs Sigmund, former mayor of Princeton, Mercer County Freeholder, and candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1989. His grandson, Paul Sigmund, had also been a freeholder of Mercer County.
Begich III is the nephew of Mark Begich, a Democrat who served one term in the US Senate before Sullivan ousted him in 2014. Another uncle is Tom Begich, a Democrat who currently serves in the Alaska State Senate.