[Howie Klein, one of the most important fundraisers (the PAC he inspired, Blue America, raised more for Alaska Sen. Mark Begich in 2008, than any other Begich contributor) and political commentators in the USA, has long been on the case of Alaska Rep. Don Young]
Last night the Anchorage Daily News reported that blogger and former Alaska state Rep. Andrew Halcro will be challenging ethically-challenged Don Young in the Republican Party primary for that state's sole House seat.
"I'm running for Congress because I agree with Don Young, and he said seniority matters," Halcro said later. "And right now, after the last election, he was stripped of his committee chairmanships. He's basically become an 18-term freshman."
"The Republicans look like they're going to pick up significant seats in 2010 and 2012. And here's the question: Does Alaska want a seat on the bus, or do we want to get left on the curb?"... Young issued a statement Thursday emphasizing he remains in the race, saying that "my work is not done for the state of Alaska just yet."
Young (a.k.a.- Mr. Pork) has been forced out of his committee chairmanship-- since he was using it to enrich himself-- while his legal problems are under investigation. It is unlikely the 76 year old legislator will outlive the investigations of his tangled and determined criminality.
Young has hit upon the novel idea of campaigning on the memory of his recently departed wife, Lu, hoping for some sympathy from Alaksa voters:
"I love this State and have loved representing you for the past 36 years and because of that I am running for another term and I am running hard. Lu and I made the decision to run for re-election together, and I will continue to fight for her and for all Alaskans... Through my seniority, my long-seeded friendships with many of the current chairman, and your support, we have been able to accomplish great things and together we can accomplish so much more."
It is widely estimated that Young was, in his heyday, among the half dozen most corrupt members of the House. He has taken in nearly $6 million from PACs and has been a particular darling of Big Oil and Gas, whose interests he has served most slavishly. Among current House members, he's one of the top 10 all-time recipients of thinly-veiled direct bribes from lobbyists ($545,342).
In 2008 Young barely managed to win-- with a 304 vote nargin-- his primary against Palin-back Lt Gov (now Governor) Sean Parnell. He went on to beat an ethically suspect Rahm Emanuel puppet, Ethan Berkowitz, 158,939- 142,560.
Young still hasn't been indicted although the FBI claims his investigation is still active. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is coalescing around a run by state Rep Harry Crawford of East Anchorage. The congressional district, by far the biggest in America, is the entire state of Alaska. Despite Palin's presence on the Republican ticket, Obama did significantly better against McCain than both Kerry and Gore did against Bush. He only lost by 38-59%! What is it that makes meth users vote Republican in such great numbers?
image at top - Dennis Zaki
image near bottom - DropDon.com