Jake Metcalfe to challenge Don Young

Ex-head of state's Democratic Party declares candidacy

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Another challenger seeking Don Young's seat for the U.S. House has stepped up to the plate.

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Jake Metcalfe, an attorney raised in Juneau whose family's roots in Alaska date to 1897, filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C., Monday.

On Saturday, Metcalfe stepped down as head of the state's Democratic Party, so he could declare his candidacy.

Typically, it's the state's party that backs a single candidate, but Metcalfe said he believed time was a factor in the party's efforts to unseat Young.

Young has a large campaign war chest and any candidate who runs against him needs to start early raising money and making connections across the state, Metcalfe said.

"If someone is going to take the congressional seat, they need to file right away," Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe is the second Democrat to file. Diane Benson, who ran against him last year, collecting 40 percent of the vote with a fraction of the campaign funds, also has filed.

Benson could not immediately be reached for comment. Young's campaign manager Steve Dougherty said his office won't be commenting on the race at this time.

Web links

For more on Jake Metcalfe and U.S. Rep. Don Young's campaigns, check out www.jake2008.com, www.DropDon.com or donyoung.house.gov.

But Metcalfe was not reluctant to call for Young's job.

"You've got a minority back bencher who is no longer a committee chairman," Metcalfe said. "He's part of the minority and we need someone who is part of the majority."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been searching for a strong candidate to run against him.

Last week, the group called on Republican House leadership to pull his committee assignments.

Metcalfe says Democrats are poised to keep their majority in Washington and that's where he can be effective.

"I think it's a much-needed new day in Alaska's history," Metcalfe said. "These guys have been in leadership for 12 years, and I don't foresee them being in leadership positions again."

Metcalfe said he's taking nothing for granted and that he understands many in Alaska could remain loyal to Young for his ability to bring federal funds to the state.

"Don Young is the incumbent and he will be until he retires, resigns or is defeated," Metcalfe said. "I'm sure we'll see him getting some competition in the Republican party, too."

Metcalfe is a former Anchorage School Board President who currently works as an attorney for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

He grew up in Southeast Alaska in a large, well-known Juneau family. He worked previously as a prosecutor in Bethel.

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