Alaska Libertarian Mark Fish runs for U.S. Senate seat

In a move that has the potential to affect Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, Mark Fish filed on Wednesday with the Alaska Division of Elections to run for the U.S. Senate seat as a Libertarian.

Fish has long been a Libertarian, and is well known in those circles, but worked as both a Sarah Palin and GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller staffer and remains close to the Miller campaign.

There’s been speculation that Fish is running in order to save a spot on the ticket for Miller were Miller to lose the Republican primary and chose to run as a Libertarian. It would be a move that would all but ensure a win for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. However, in an interview, Fish said that he has never talked with Miller about that scenario.

“We’ve had conversations about a lot of things, but never about that,” Fish said.

He said that he is running so that Libertarians have a viable candidate to vote for in an open primary. The Republican primary has a closed ballot, meaning that those in other parties don’t get to vote for their candidate. The Democratic primary, however, allows for other parties.

“I want to give the registered Libertarians and people who choose an open ballot a choice other than Begich,” he said. After the primary, he said that he’ll reassess the situation. If he does stay in the race, he’ll likely draw away from the Republican candidate.

Anchorage-based Republican pollster and consultant Marc Hellenthal said that Fish would likely pick up about 5 percentage points if he stays in the race past the primary. “That could easily cost the Republican nominee the vote,” he said.

Another libertarian, Thom Walker, has filed to run for the seat, but Walker is an unknown and until recently was a registered Republican and has not been involved in the Libertarian Party. Numerous people, including this reporter, have tried to contact him in the last days but he can’t be reached.

“He’s not a viable candidate if he can’t answer his phone,” said Libertarian Party Chair Mike Chambers.

Fish is a longtime Alaskan. He spent 20 years in the National Guard. He ran for Anchorage Assembly in 2003 and for state House in 2008. He spent five years on the Human Rights Commission, until a controversial comment that he wrote on a blog about a “radical feminist” was unearthed.

Fish and Miller agree on more things than they disagree on, said Fish. However, Miller is “much more socially conservative than I am,” he said.

For instance, Fish, unlike Miller, doesn’t believe that the state should be involved in marriage at all. And also believes that abortion should be a societal, rather than legal decision.

GOP candidate Dan Sullivan’s campaign declined comment. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller’s spokespeople didn’t return calls requesting comment.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


10 thoughts on “Alaska Libertarian Mark Fish runs for U.S. Senate seat

  1. Eric Dondero

    This is my mistake. I can see now that the article is dated May 14. My conversation with Mark Fish took place just 4 days ago.

    So, the news is that Joe Miller and Mark Fish have talked about Miller running on the Libertarian Party ticket and Fish stepping aside.

    Still, Kohlhaas could beat Miller or Fish in the Libertarian primary, which would spell doom for Begich. Scott is much more well-known in Libertarian circles than Joe or Mark. Scott is a left-libertarian, who would emphasize pro-choice, anti-war, pot.

    Team Begich better hope Scott Kohlhaas is not the Libertarian Party nominee.

  2. Eric Dondero

    We’ve covered it over at

    Note, our version is slightly different from Amanda’s. Mark Fish told me personally, that he DID speak with Joe Miller about the possibility of running on the Libertarian ticket at a later date if he didn’t received the nomination. Fish was crystal clear to me about the conversation he had with Joe when Mark and I spoke 4 days ago.

    He indicated that Joe was exploring all options, including pre-filing, if there was any way he could runs as BOTH a Libertarian and a Republican.

    At this point, it probably doesn’t matter much. The Bergdahl scandal is overtaking everything else this year. And Dems destined to lose across the board, including Alaska.

    So, Miller as a Libertarian might be a “gimmee” vote for Alaska Libertarians. Won’t hurt Republican – Sullivan.

  3. Eric Dondero

    Good reporting Amanda. Very interesting.

    However, anything can happen this year nationwide and in Alaska. This Bergdahl thing is huge. Much larger than any of Obama’s previous scandals.

    Impeachment is in the air. If so, Alaska could go GOP regardless of who the Libertarians run.

    And as you know very well, Alaska is among the most pro-military of states. Alaska military supporters surely are concerned about Obama’s treasonous actions in releasing 5 Muslim terrorist generals in a swap for a treasonous deserter.

    Mark Fish of all people, ex-military like me, has honor, and no doubt is influenced by this Bergdahl situation. And Joe Miller is also a Veteran.

    Has Begich served?

  4. GVM

    I believe you are the only news outlet that covered this story. Frankly, I am disappointed with the other news outlets for their lack of meaningful political coverage. I guess the Anchorage Daily News was too busy working with uber citizen Ray Metcalfe helping him with some unfounded character assasination. I guess the AND is stooping to new lows in their rush to become a NY Post style tabloid. How disappointing.

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