Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) won’t serve in the 114th Congress next year after he lost his seat to Republican Dan Sullivan. But Begich may not be done with elected office: Buzz in Anchorage is that he’s considering running for mayor, again.
Begich started his political career as an Anchorage Assemblyman — what they call their city council — in 1988. He ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 1994 and 2000 before winning the job in 2003, and winning reelection in 2006.
Now, with incumbent Mayor Dan Sullivan — not the same guy who beat Begich in November — retiring, Begich has hinted he might want his old job back.
In an interview with KTVA-TV on Wednesday, Begich said he had been asked to run, though he wouldn’t say whether he’ll jump in the race.
“There’s been a lot of inquiries — as you can imagine, my cellphone rings off and on with people asking, e-mails and text messages,” Begich told the anchor. “People have ideas for me, I guess, and speculation — and I’ll leave that out there for right now.”
Andrew Halcro, president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, told Alaska Dispatch News he talked to Begich about the race over coffee last week.
“He said he was thinking about everything and seeing about getting his thoughts together in the next week,” Halcro told the paper. “I think he’s considering all his options — that’s what he said to me.”
The election will be held in April.
Halcro, a former Republican member of the legislature who ran for governor as an independent in 2006, is thinking of running for mayor himself. So are three other more liberal members of the Anchorage Assembly and a Democratic state senator. But they’re all waiting, they say, for Begich to make up his mind.
Begich hasn’t frozen the entire field: Six candidates have already filed, including two former and one current Anchorage Assembly members who all hail from the conservative end of the spectrum.
A spokesman said Begich is focusing on his final weeks as a senator and won’t comment on his future plans.