Longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Don Young has again won reelection to Alaska’s only House seat, fending off a challenge from public education activist Alyse Galvin, an independent who won the Democratic primary.
Young, at 85 years old, is the “Dean of the House,” the honorific given to the chamber’s longest-serving member. He was first elected in 1973 and has represented Alaska for about three-quarters of the time it has been a state.
The race here was unexpectedly tight for a district that, in 2016, saw President Trump defeat Hillary Clinton by nearly 15 points and Young win by 14. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP-aligned super PAC, invested six figures in a late-campaign push for Young, Politico reported, underscoring the Republicans’ defensive stance.
Young also has a history of insensitive comments, the Associated Press wrote. Earlier this year, he suggested in a speech that the Holocaust would’ve been prevented had European Jews been armed. He has also been derogatory when referring to migrant workers, the AP reported.
Galvin, a first-time candidate, has said Young is beholden to special interests and promised that she would refuse money from lobbyists. The political newcomer outraised Young, $1.4 million to about $1 million, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
On the campaign trail, Galvin said she would focus on health care, jobs and combating the opioid epidemic. She also said her state is tired of Young’s insensitivity and that he has grown out-of-touch with voters over his nearly half century in office.
Young, on the other hand, said his experience has been one of his biggest advantages.