Former First Lady Bella Hammond endorses Begich

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich received an endorsement Monday from former First Lady Bella Hammond, wife of the late Jay Hammond, who was Alaska's fourth governor.

Earlier this month, Begich made a last minute announcement that he would be staying in the race, with less than 90 minutes before the withdrawal deadline. In a quote on his website, Begich said he felt honored to have Hammond's endorsement because he admires their family's values and commitment to Alaskans.

Former Governor Hammond is famous for his role in the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program, which has been a hot topic in this election. Bella Hammond said she believes Begich is the kind of leader Alaska needs and that Begich shares the values that made Jay Hammond a strong leader.

This is not the first time the former First Lady Hammond has endorsed Begich. In 2014, she showed her support when he ran against Dan Sullivan. In that same year, she also endorsed current Governor Bill Walker.