Don Young said he once suggested to some environmentalists that the way to get him out of Congress was to drop their opposition to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
``They thought about it for a month,'' Young joked.
But neither the environmentalists nor his adversaries in the Clinton-Gore administration have dissuaded Young from serving longer in Washington, D.C.
The 28-year incumbent, who is the eighth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that he will indeed run for a 15th consecutive term. He will file April 28 in Anchorage, he said.
``I am very persevering,'' Young said. ``I will work, and I will work, and I will work, and I will work until I achieve my goals.''
Young's decision comes as no surprise. But it's bad news for Alaska Democrats, who apparently have no strategy for taking back the seat they lost when Democratic congressman Nick Begich died in a plane crash in 1972.
In Juneau, party leaders said they don't have a clue who the party will field against Young.
``I know of no one'' who's running, said Rich Listowski, a Democratic national committeeman. ``But we haven't given up.''
Young, 66, is formidable not only as a long-term incumbent but also as chairman of an important committee for Alaska, the House panel on resources. Internal term limits will force Young to give up that chairmanship in January, but he said he is in line to take over the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee if Republicans retain control of the House.
The crusty congressman has easily overcome recent opponents.
Last time out, former state Senate Minority Leader Jim Duncan of Juneau managed only 35 percent of the vote to Young's 63 percent. In 1996, Young defeated Sen. Georgianna Lincoln of Rampart by a margin of 59-37 percent.
Listowski said the only chance of beating Young is with a candidate who is moderate on social issues.
``We would need somebody like Tony Knowles or Fran Ulmer,'' he said, referring to the Democratic governor and lieutenant governor. ``In the past, I think we've run people who are too left of center.''
State party chairman Chris Cooke of Bethel could not be reached for comment this morning.