ANCHORAGE - Don Young has won a 20th term to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Young defeated Democrat Harry Crawford, who has had a difficult time raising funds amid low name recognition. Young was winning with about 68 percent of the vote.
"This is a very important job for the state. I think I can do the best job for the state. As long as they continue to support me, I'll continue to serve," he said.
Crawford was disappointed that the race didn't capture voters' attention, partly due, he said, to Democrats' fatigue from President Barack Obama's election two years ago. He also said there was no spark to attract attention like it did for fellow Democrat Scott McAdams in the bruising three-way Senate race, which also features Republicans Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski.
"Something would have had to have happened. Some sort of lightning had to strike to make it that kind of a high-profile race," Crawford said.
He also finds himself in a battle with a re-energized Don Young.
Young comes into this re-election cycle after the U.S. Department of Justice announced the 77-year-old was no longer under investigation for his ties to VECO Corp. and over a Florida earmark.
Young spent more than $1 million on legal fees, but refused to discuss the case.
He said Tuesday he was unsure if the DOJ's announcement had anything to do with his wide margin of victory.
"That I can't say, you know. I won the last one with the cloud over my head. It shouldn't have been there, but it was. And I won this one with the cloud had been, you know, not over my head anymore. So I'm not going to bring that in at all," he said.
He first ran for Congress in 1972 when he challenged and lost to U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, D-Alaska, even though a plane in which Begich was traveling disappeared three weeks earlier. Begich was declared dead in December 1972, and Young won a special election three months later.
Young has won every election since.
Crawford, a native of Louisiana, is an iron worker who came to Alaska to work on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
He's not daunted by taking on someone with the stature of Don Young.
Crawford said he's done that already, beating a legendary Alaska politician, former House Speaker Ramona Barnes, to win his state House seat in 2000.
Associated Press reporter Rachel D'Oro contributed to this report.
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