(NewsNation) — Santa Claus is coming … to Congress?
Claus, 74, is among 48 candidates to replace the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).
He will face off against former Gov. Sarah Palin (R), former Senate Majority Leader John Coghill (R), surgeon Al Gross (I), state Sen. Josh Revak (R) and former Interior Department official Tara Sweeney (R).
Claus is a two-term councilman of the city of North Pole, Alaska. He also served as an assistant deputy police commissioner in the New York Police Department as well on an advisory board for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“It’s definitely not a joke. I have a lot of experience before my Santa years that I think is applicable to this particular seat,” Claus said during an appearance Thursday night on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
Claus is a long-time advocate for child health, safety and welfare and believes all members of Congress must find a common ground.
“I was born in Washington, DC. I feel comfortable there,” he said.
“I was on a ‘Santa’s Bless the Children Tour’ years ago, where I was at the Capitol, and a lot of the people, a lot of members of Congress, see 20-30 people a day, they are asking them for something,” he said. “And when I would follow up with the staff after my visit, to talk about child health, safety and welfare with whoever the legislator happened to be, without exception, they said, you’re the one they remembered.”
Claus says he is very well-received because he finds common ground with people.
The name change came to him during prayer when he was living in Lake Tahoe.
“Right after my prayer, maybe 20 seconds later, this white car came up the road, windows were open, and this male voice shouted out, ‘Santa! I love you!’ In February, 20 seconds after that prayer. So I kind of took that as a sign and went to the county clerk the next day and went through their name change process.”
Claus will face off in a primary election in which the top four contenders advance to an August ranked-choice runoff.