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Rep. Don Young wins GOP primary for US House seat

Posted: August 28, 2012 - 11:02pm

ANCHORAGE — U.S. Rep. Don Young easily won his Republican primary Tuesday.

Young, who is seeking his 21st term as Alaska’s sole U.S. House member, was leading with 78 percent of the vote with 33 percent of the vote counted and wasn’t challenged by lesser-known Republicans John R. Cox and Terre Gales.

Young, as usual, spent election night at his home in remote Fort Yukon.

However, he said in statement that he was “both humbled and honored by the overwhelming level of support shown by Alaskans tonight.”

In the Democratic primary, state Rep. Sharon Cissna of Anchorage was winning with 46 percent of the vote. Matt Moore was second with 18 percent and Debra Chesnut, third with 14 percent.

Young has held the office since 1973. Besides having huge name recognition, he also enjoys a huge cash advantage. As of Aug. 8, Young had more than $584,000 cash on hand and has been raising money since.

Dr. Ronald Glaeser, an Anchorage orthodontist, said Young keeps winning easily over the years because he’s effective.

“He’s been there a long time. He knows the ins and outs,” said Glaeser, a Republican supporter of Young, after voting Tuesday. “We need some experience from Alaska to give our viewpoint.”

In his statement, Young said he believes Alaska “needs someone who will stand up and fight for this state — and as long as I have the fire to serve, I believe I am the best person for the job.”

There was more competition on the Democratic side, with the challengers vying to become the first from their party to hold the office since 1973.

The other Democrats in the race were Doug Urquidi and Frank Vondersaar. All struggled to raise funds and get traction for their campaigns.

Cissna was the best known among them, mainly for her fight with the Transportation Security Administration. Last year, the breast cancer survivor refused a pat-down at a Seattle airport and went through a variety of modes of transportation to get back to Alaska. She rails against the agency.

But it’s her legislative experience that prompted a vote from Jane Meacham of Anchorage.

“I think she has experience and is about the only one who can beat Don Young,” Meacham said.

Moore, who owns a medical consulting business in Anchorage, raised the most money among the Democrats — more than $37,000. Chesnut, who runs her husband’s dental practice and has a coffee hut in Fairbanks, had raised less than half that. Cissna hadn’t filed any finance reports but said she has lent money to her campaign.

Bridget Milligan, a Democrat from Juneau, said she hadn’t paid much attention to the U.S. House race. She said she voted for a Democratic woman, and had to think when asked who she voted for. “Chesnut,” she said.

Larry Davis, who said he is not affiliated with any political party but leans Democratic, said he has “kind of” followed the race, but judging from past years, figures he knows how it ultimately will end up. Young is seeking his 21st term this year.

Voting for a Democrat, he said, is merely “expressing an opinion.”

“You just come in and you vote and it’s the same old thing year after year,” he said.

Davis said he voted for Cissna, saying he was somewhat familiar with her record and less familiar with the other Democratic candidates.

Besides the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries, Libertarian Jim C. McDermott will advance to the November general election.

___

Associated Press writers Becky Bohrer in Juneau and Rachel D’oro in Anchorage contributed to this report.

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