Young defeats Fisher for GOP nomination

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ANCHORAGE - There may be anti-incumbent sentiment elsewhere in the country but little was evident in Alaska's U.S. House race.

Incumbent Don Young easily fended off a challenge from political newcomer Sheldon Fisher to win the Republican Party nomination for Alaska's only U.S. House seat.

With 218 of Alaska's 438 precincts reporting Tuesday, Young took a commanding lead with 41,720 votes, or about 70 percent.

Fisher recorded 14,368 votes, or about 24 percent, with John R. Cox collecting 3,758, about 6 percent.

A steady stream of Anchorage voters said they were choosing Don Young and his 19-term record over political newcomer Sheldon Fisher for the Republican nomination for U.S. House.

Bob Crockett voted for Young at Kincaid Elementary School in south Anchorage and called Young "an old war horse."

"You just don't get that seniority and we need it," he said.

"I know him," said Yvonne Anderson. "He's been there forever."

In contrast, few voters said they knew much about Fisher, a former telecommunications executive who quit to challenge Young.

"I don't think there was enough information to make a logical decision," said Irmgard Farlaino after choosing Young.

An exception was Tim Hale, a heavy equipment operator from Valdez who voted a questioned ballot at the Loussac Public Library. He picked Fisher, he said, because the newcomer seemed to have the best chance of "upsetting the champ."

"I think his time's up," he said of Young. "I think his relevance is passed."

The 77-year-old Young sought a 20th term with the familiar campaign theme of fighting federal government intrusion. He said in 2011 that will take the form of revising or repealing President Barack Obama's health care law.

Young said his knowledge of the state and his constituent work could not be matched by a newcomer.

He has been a steady voice for developing Alaska's natural resources, including offshore petroleum drilling. Young said energy development will be the basis of getting the U.S. economy back on track because cheap energy will spur other facets of the economy.

Young's chances to return to Washington improved this month when the Justice Department announced that federal prosecutors were no longer investigating him on corruption charges.

Young had been investigated for his connections to VECO Corp. and its chairman, Bill Allen, who was convicted of bribing state lawmakers. Congress itself asked for an investigation of a spending bill earmark that benefited a Young campaign supporter in Florida.

One of Young's closest campaigns came two years ago when he defeated then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by 304 votes in the Republican primary.

Fisher - without Parnell's name recognition or longevity in the state - figured to be a long-shot.

His campaign receipts as of Aug. 4 were $134,370 to Young's $777,775.

Fisher, 48, grew up in Oregon and earned an economics degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from Yale. He was an executive with Hughes Electronics and Sprint before taking a job in 2004 with Alaska telecommunications company ACS.

Fisher put Young in the category of the professional politicians in Congress who worry more about re-election than the course of the country. He called for a change of direction in Congress and he faulted both parties for the size of the national debt.

Young will face Democrat Harry Crawford, a member of the state House from Anchorage, who ran unopposed.

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