A gay assemblyman from Anchorage who is running for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives recently received a homophobic death threat on his voicemail.
Christopher Constant, who’s running as a Democrat in a field of 48 candidates for the seat, recently told the South Florida Gay News that he received a two-minute-long message on his office voicemail.
“I wanna see you get smoked so bad and you’re going to, too,” a male caller says in the message, which includes threats and several homophobic slurs. “I’m not afraid of you homosexuals. It disgusts me. Pervert!”
Constant says he’s turned over a copy of the recording to the Anchorage Police Department. He believes that his recent efforts to introduce a process for removing a mayor from office for accepting bribes, lying under oath, or other corrupt actions — though not directed at a specific mayor — may have influenced the caller to make the threat. The proposal, introduced by progressives who control the Assembly, has angered many who believe the Assembly is overreaching and that the proposal is unconstitutional.
He also says the threat is a reminder of the hostility that LGBTQ people can often face when they seek public office.
“People don’t realize how much risk there is in this job especially for a queer,” he said. “This is the reality of what the race is and he is just the one who is willing to say it. Just know this, this is what makes me strong, we make the difference for all the kids coming forward in a world that is not going to be like this anymore.”
Constant, who is running for the seat left vacant by the death of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young, will run against 47 other candidates in a top-four primary that used ranked-choice voting.
This year, for the first time, voters will rank their preferred candidates in the primary on June 11, with the top four candidates moving on to a special election scheduled for August. That same month, 30 candidates will compete in another primary to determine the top four who will compete in November’s general election, with the winner being sworn in for a full term in January 2023.
Constant predicts that one of two things will happen with the new primary format: either the structure of the election will force more extremist candidates to the center to build coalitions, or it will strengthen the state’s current political establishment, personified by current U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
“We’re in the experiment now so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Among the candidates that Constant faces are former Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Al Gross, the Democratic-backed independent who ran for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat in 2020, John Howe, the conservative Alaskan Independence Party’s candidate for the Senate in 2020, and a socialist from the city of North Pole named Santa Claus. Palin, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, is considered a favorite to emerge from the primary, but Constant is skeptical of her chances.
“What outside people don’t understand about Sarah Palin is, yes 87% of people know her but most people don’t like her because she’s a quitter,” Constant said. “Alaskans aren’t down with that and I think people are going to be surprised when they see how poorly she performs on the 11th.”
Constant, who first came to Alaska 25 years ago to work as a fishing guide, worked in the nonprofit sector for several years. In 2017, he was elected to the Anchorage Assembly, where he currently serves as vice chairman.
This is not the first time Constant has been the target of anti-gay slurs. In September 2021, a local anti-mask activist angered over the city’s COVID-19 mask mandate called him a “cocksucker” during an Assembly meeting.
“I thought you were just a cocksucker, but you’re a coward,” the activist, Paul Kendall, says in video posted to the news website The Alaska Landmine. Some of the anti-maskers in the audience cheered Kendall, who was then escorted from the building. Kendall was arrested for trespassing, and later died from COVID-19 in late October 2021, according to The Advocate.
“I’ve been called worse by better,” Constant said in response to Kendall’s attack against him.
Constant also told South Florida Gay News that he’s not going to be deterred by people who direct their venom and hatred to the LGBTQ community.
“We’re going to fight this fight until these people are dead from old age or we have overwhelmed them with so many of us who believe in equity and equality and justice and freedom and fairness for everybody,” he said of anti-equality opponents. “That’s the fight and that’s why I’m in this race.”
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