Gregg Brelsford, Alaska's U.S. House Candidate, Leaves GOP Citing Attacks on Democracy

Alaska U.S. House candidate Gregg Brelsford on Sunday announced that he has switched his affiliation from Republican to Independent for the state's sole seat in the U.S. House, citing "attacks on democracy."

In an opinion piece published by the Anchorage Daily News, Brelsford, a former manager of the Bristol Bay Borough, said he "like many Alaskans [...] no longer feel[s] at home in either party."

"On the campaign trail, many people have told me that both the Republican and Democratic parties have gotten off track on concerns that matter to Alaskans," he wrote. "I am still a principled, pragmatic, get-it-done, no-drama, conservative. But now I believe I can best represent the Last Frontier's independent-spirited Alaskans in Congress as an independent."

The 2022 United States House of Representatives election in Alaska will be held on November 8. Incumbent Republican Representative Don Young is seeking reelection. Reelected in 2020, Young is the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. House.

Among a number of reasons for switching his political affiliation, Brelsford said he believes the Republican Party is participating in a "growing effort to compromise election integrity and democracy across the country."

"Republican senators and members of Congress, with too few exceptions, are distracted relitigating the last election and are not passionately working to fix the really difficult problems facing Alaskans and the country today," he wrote. "There is no excuse for this neglect of their core mission and there are no signs the situation is improving."

"Too many active Republicans are either silent or deaf on some important issues facing Alaskans," including lack of affordable housing, homelessness, health care and the high cost of prescription medicines, wrote Brelsford.

Brelsford first announced his run for the state's sole seat on Independence Day 2021, saying that he was running "to fight for democracy."

"Many Republican state and national leaders and candidates have lost sight of key values that make America great," Brelsford said at the time. "This includes unthinking attacks on democracy, voting, and the rule of law and an aversion to facts.

Brelsford when announcing his run in a candidate video described himself as an "independent, pragmatic, principled, new-generation, conservative Republican."

"I am committed to the values of the party of Lincoln and Reagan—patriotism, national unity, and love of country. I am a man of the people and committed to economic growth while ensuring protection of our great Alaskan natural environment," he said last year.

Incumbent Young told The Associated Press in October 2021 that he is "running hard" and "running to win."

"Anyone is free to file, but the question is, who can best represent Alaska?" he said. "I've always welcomed challengers to the race, but I have the experience and know-how to continue getting things done for Alaska."

"Alaskans deserve effective representation in Congress, and I will work hard as I've always done to secure another term," he added.

The U.S. Capitol
The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol November 6, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Alaska U.S. House candidate Gregg Brelsford on Sunday announced that he that he has switched his affiliation from Republican to Independent. Win McNamee/Getty Images