Alaskans returns Young to Washington despite kinks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaskans once again returned Don Young to the U.S. House, brushing off his gruff demeanor and plain talking style, which is often sprinkled with off-color remarks.
The 85-year-old Republican was elected to a 24th term Tuesday night, defeating political newcomer Alyse Galvin.
Young said he was a little surprised by the margin of victory.
“We got more votes this time than we got before, and everybody had me down,” he told The Associated Press.
“I feel real good about our campaign, and we were able to prove that Alaskans appreciate what I’ve been able to do,” he said. “I’m going to have a good two years ahead of us.”
Galvin struck a hopeful tone when conceding Tuesday night.
“For every Alaskan who has accepted that our leadership in Washington doesn’t have our best interests at heart, tonight’s loss does not mean giving up. It only means working harder. And I will continue working harder for you.”
She did not indicate in what way.
Dean Paul of Anchorage said he voted for Young because “he’s a known quantity.”
Paul said he’s a disability advocate and has met with Young several times in Washington.
“He has supported people with disabilities in the past, and that’s important to me because we have to take care of our population,” he said.
Young was first elected in 1973, and is the last member of the House from the Nixon era still serving.
Cliff Johnson voted for Young at Kincaid Elementary in Anchorage.
“I voted for Young because he’s the most senior, and he’s been doing a good job,” Johnson said. “He takes a lot of money back to Alaska for us. Now’s not the time to change that.”
July Leslie voted Republican across the board, including for Young.
“I didn’t like either candidate, to be honest, but I just wanted to stick with the Republican Party,” Leslie said. “I like the platform of less taxes and smaller government. More focus on business and the economy.”
Galvin said Young was once an effective representative but those days are gone. The state was ready for new leadership, she said.
The race turned ornery at times, with Young accusing Galvin of being nasty toward him and Galvin accusing him of hurting her hand with a post-debate handshake.
She called that a “cheap bullying” trick. He claims she staged it to make him appear aggressive.
After a subsequent debate, Young walked out of the TV studio without speaking to her.
“I don’t acknowledge her because very frankly, I don’t believe she can do the job, and why should I acknowledge somebody who tried to stage something for publicity?” he said.
Anchorage voter John Gregoire, who is registered as undeclared, voted for Galvin. It was a difficult decision because he was concerned with Galvin’s inexperience and her ability to actually produce results for the state, but ultimately, he felt it was time for Young to go.
Gregoire sees Young as out of touch, disconnected from the people he represents, someone who says things that are racist and ignorant, someone who has been in office too long and is “generationally lost,” he said after casting an early vote in Anchorage on Monday.
“He’s a vestige of the past, and it’s time for us to get into the future,” Gregoire said.
Reporters Rachel D’Oro, Dan Joling, Becky Bohrer and Michael Dinneen contributed from Anchorage.
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics