ANCHORAGE - With the Nov. 7, election approaching, Don Young, Alaska's powerful U.S. representative, has more than $2 million in his campaign account.
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The 73-year-old Republican from Fort Yukon has amassed one of the richest campaign accounts in Congress, soliciting donations from Alaska to Arkansas.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that road builders, doctors and others in Pine Bluff, Ark., are among the most generous donors to Young's re-election campaign. More money comes from two sections of Pine Bluff than from any ZIP code in Alaska.
Sitting congressmen often secure donations from out of state, but Young is especially adept. He ranks eighth out of 435 congressmen in terms of the percentage of campaign dollars drawn from outside their home state, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Alaska's small population means there are fewer people to seek donations from, said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the center.
Young can attract money from a variety of states because as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee he helps decide where billions in transportation dollars are spent.
The congressman receives campaign contributions from around the country: fishing interests in Seattle, lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., real estate interests in southwest Florida, and the former chief executive officer of retailer Dollar General in Nashville, Tenn., according to the Daily News.
"I know that Rep. Young is very interested in highway projects, and I wanted to show my support. And I think I did," said Randy McNulty, president of Southern Pavers Inc. in Pine Bluff, who gave the maximum $4,200 allowed.
Overall, Young receives more financial support from transportation interests than any other group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics database.
Lawyers and lobbyists also are big supporters. And so is the oil industry, especially Veco, the oil field service company whose executives give more campaign money to Young than those with any other Alaska-based company.
Since 1989, Veco employees have given Young about $200,000.
Diane Benson, a Democrat who is challenging Young this year for the House seat, has called for him to return contributions from Veco executives in light of an FBI investigation into the company and possibly corrupt ties to state legislators. Benson has raised a little over $100,000 for her campaign.
Young and his campaign staff didn't respond to calls from the Daily News.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com
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