Young Declared Winner in Alaska

Posted September 18, 2008 at 10:44am

In news that will cheer Democrats, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has declared victory in his primary over Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell following the Alaska Division of Elections final vote tallies, which were released Wednesday evening.

Young defeated Parnell by 304 votes, according to the final — but not yet certified — tally from the state. According to the Division of Elections results, Young received 48,195 votes, Parnell received 47,891 votes and state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux received 9,901 votes in the Aug. 26 primary.

In a statement, Young said he was humbled by his constituents’ continued support.

“Needless to say, this was an extremely competitive primary election — the closest Congressional primary campaign in our state that I can remember,” Young said. “This competitive primary is a tribute to the quality of my two capable opponents and their campaigns.”

Under Alaska election law, Parnell could have asked for a recount paid for by the state because the final margin was less than half of a percentage point. Parnell released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he would not seek a recount.

In his statement, Young said he had “much respect” for The Democratic nominee, former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, and urged outside groups to stay out of the general election race. In turn, Berkowitz congratulated Young on his victory.

“I would like to congratulate Don Young on his victory, but also give particular thanks to Sean Parnell and Gabrielle LeDoux,” Berkowitz said in a statement. “The Lieutenant Governor and Rep. LeDoux fought hard to bring positive change to Alaska’s seat in Congress. I want their supporters to know that they still have that chance. Together, we will finish what your campaigns started.”

Public polls so far have given Berkowitz a significant lead over Young, often by double digits. Those same polls have generally shown Parnell, who is closely allied with popular Gov. Sarah Palin (R), with a narrow lead over Berkowitz.