Alaska congressional candidate, Santa Claus.
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) — When it comes to national elections — special or regular — name recognition matters.
This may be especially true of the election to fill the vacant term remaining after the death of Congressman Don Young last month.
One of nearly 50 candidates vying for the seat is Santa Claus, a member of the North Pole city council.
Yes, Santathat’s his name.
Claus, who is in his second term on city council, is campaigning hard for the special election and believes he can hold ‘the strong’ in Washington D.C. until a permanent member of Congress from the Alaska be elected in January 2023.
“I’m running because I think with the current situation, anyone running in the general election will have to spend a lot of time campaigning and fundraising,” Claus said. “I’m running in the special election because I’m not going to spend any money. Basically, I think it’s $400 or something for my special election campaign. And I don’t solicit or accept any funds, which means I can spend all my time in Washington DC and Alaska, holding the fort and getting things ready for whoever comes, in January.
Another reason Claus says he is perfectly qualified for the job is due to his experience in the nation’s capital and the fact that he has spent his life serving the people.
“I think whoever runs if they have to run in a special election, I’m not sure how they plan to represent all Alaskans if they’re going to spend half their time fundraising and campaigning for the general election,” Claus said. “So I thought I would step in and run for office and kind of fill that void. I’d be good at it. That’s why I’m running…and I’ve lived a life of public service.
Although Claus says he is only running in the primary election, he left the door open to run in the general election if “there was incredibly overwhelming support for the special election, then I would have to make a decision to ‘here June 11’.
Claus went in-depth on his platform with News of the North, saying, “I would go to unions, the Medicare-for-all child tax credit, the wealth tax, the removal of the social security cap, all of this has an impact on Alaska. I would also address social media platform reforms, student loan forgiveness, and try to get OSHA and ADA to deal with COVID and other pandemic issues when they arise. Also, I would fight for the rights of minorities, indigenous women, children and the LGBT community. I am for the protection of the weak, the poor and the disadvantaged, and I believe that science, education and religion can coexist. And that’s a lot. I don’t know what will happen and I don’t know what legislation will be [current] in September, which is when whoever wins the special election goes to Washington and takes office, and then he’s out in early January.
Claus also highlighted some of the North Pole City Council’s work during his tenure with the body.
“I am, at the end of my second term on city council,” Claus said. “We are basically in charge of the budget and taxes and providing a variety of community services to our constituents here. We’ve had several things that have come up over the years, especially with the COVID response. I’m happy with what we did. The great thing about our city council is that no matter who our constituents are, there is always someone on the city council who listens to them and tries to help solve the problem.
“I think I’m in a good position to address some of the issues that affect our particular communities,” Claus said. Throughout Alaska, we have a PFAS problem with our water contamination, and we have all of that with power, oil, gas, and renewables. Important issues are sovereignty, fisheries, immigration, veterans and defence. We are well positioned here, especially with the issues with Russia right now in Ukraine. And I think people who vote for me can expect our infrastructure to improve with broadband, which has an effect on business, education, and emergency communications.
Claus, whose birth name is Tom O’Connor, moved to the North Pole in 2013. According to his campaign website, he previously served on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, serving as Speaker of the House North Pole Community Trader and Senior Ranger. for Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Lake Chena Recreation Area at the North Pole.