Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Christopher Constant issued a statement this afternoon in which he reaffirmed his respect for Rep. Don Young, Alaska’s longest serving congressman, who passed away on Friday at the age of 88.

Constant said he had recently reached out to and spoken to Rep. Young about their campaigns and did so to share his respect for Young’s “long-standing, remarkable service to Alaska.” Constant called the opportunity to speak with the congressman “an honor.”

He also said that while he and Congressman Young did not see eye-to-eye on many issues, their friendly, positive exchange reaffirmed his belief that our Alaskan values must rise above the political fray.

Currently, seven candidates — five republicans, one independent and Constant, who is a Democrat, are all running for Young’s House seat.

According to the Anchorage Press, Dr. Al Gross may soon jump into the race as well. Gross previously ran to unseat Dan Sullivan in the 2020 U.S. Senate race and was defeated by 12 points. It’s unknown whether voters would take Gross’s candidacy seriously. Last October he finished fourth out of fifth place in an election for hospital board in his home town of Petersburg.

With Young’s passing, a special election will be held this summer to fill his now vacant seat. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy has not yet announced the dates of the special election, which will determine who will serve as Alaska’s House representative until November when the general election occurs.

Constant said that as Alaskans mourn the loss of Rep. Young, he remains committed to honoring him and his legacy by remaining true to the values and convictions that inspired him to to run for Congress.

“This is the appropriate approach to making sure Alaska’s voice in the People’s House remains strong.”