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Formidable Don Young faces no competition yet

Posted: Wednesday, April 21, 2004

As campaigns for seats in the U.S. House shift into high gear across the nation, Alaska's lone representative is facing no serious challenger.

At least not yet.

Anyone who does toss a hat into the ring will have his or her work cut out trying to amass the campaign war chest needed to compete with Republican incumbent Rep. Don Young. First elected in 1973, Young is now among Congress' most powerful members.

Here is a look at a summary of Young's campaign finances as reported April 14 to the Federal Election Commission. The numbers cover the 2003-04 election cycle.

Young reported total receipts of $1.88 million, which included roughly $1.2 million garnered from individuals and more than $633,000 from Political Action Committees.

Meanwhile, Young has spent about $920,500, the bulk of it on operating expenses, with small fractions going to contribution refunds and "other disbursements."

Cash on hand was listed at better than $2.15 million.

A more detailed look at where Young's money comes from is available through Web sites that analyze the lengthy FEC filings, which often are scores of pages long. One such organization is the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics. The last full analysis available covered campaign finances through the final quarter of 2003.

According to the center, Young accumulated total receipts of nearly $1.77 million up to that point. Individuals donated about $1.1 million of that, or roughly 62.6 percent, while PACs contributed another $614,081. An additional $48,177, listed under "other," represented interest on acc-ounts and loans. Young spent $778,819 and had more than $2 million in cash on hand at the end of December.

Among the PACs donating to Young, business sources dominated, donating better than 73 percent, according to the center. Labor PACs contributed about 23 percent and organizations listed under the category "Ideological-Single Issue" were responsible for about 4 percent of Young's PAC contributions.

According to the center, most candidates, Republicans and Democrats, get the majority of their PAC contributions from business interests rather than those of labor unions or ideological groups.

On another list, center analysts broke donations down into "Top Contributors." While the list contained business or corporate names some likely familiar to Alaskans the donations themselves came from those organizations' PACs, their individual members, employees or owners, and from those individuals' immediate families, the center explained.

For Young, the energy industry service company VECO Corp. was the source of the most funding, some $18,500 up to Dec. 31 in the 2003-04 election cycle. A Philadelphia law firm called Blank Rome LLP, a major contributor to the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush, had given Young $11,250 by the end of December.

Eight companies are listed as having given $10,000 each, including Outdoor Advertising Association of America (billboards and the like), United Transportation Union (representing 125,000 mass-transit workers in the United States and Canada), Wal-Mart Stores, Laborers Union, National Association of Home Builders, Adams Construction, Amalgamated Transit Union and American Maritime Officers.

Young received sizable funding from individual Alaskans, but nowhere near what his campaign took from Outside donors. During the 2003-04 period, Young got $114,550 from individuals within Alaska, but $742,407 from folks in other locations (based on reported donations of more than $200).

While Anchorage residents contributed the most ($93,250) among the top metro areas, the combined donations from Outside cities amounted to $152,000 (including the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area, the greater Washington, D.C., region, greater Boston area and Roanoke, Va.).

Among the industries contributing to Young by the end of last year were general contractors, by far the most generous group at $147,337, which made Young the top congressional recipient of that industry's support.

He also had received funding from transportation unions, lawyers and law firms, construction services, air transport and lobbyists, among others.

Though they appeared farther down the center's list of top industry contributors, truckers and building material companies also make Young their top choice for contributions among members of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.



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