FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The chief fund-raiser for Rep. Don Young says the Alaska Republican has more campaign cash on hand now than he did at this point in the last election cycle.
That comes in part because Young has no well-funded competitors to counter at this stage of his re-election effort, said Curtis Thayer, Young's Anchorage-based campaign finance chairman.
Young had almost $300,000 in campaign cash on hand at the end of March, according to reports released Monday by the Federal Election Commission.
Young had $226,000 on hand at the same point in his campaign two years ago when he was facing a challenge from state Sen. Jim Duncan, D-Juneau.
Young's overall fund-raising rate is about the same as it was two years ago, but the campaign has more cash available because it hasn't spent as much as it did in the 1998 contest against Duncan, Thayer said.
Two Alaskans have announced plans to run against Young so far, but neither has raised much campaign money.
Anna Young, of Seward, is running as a Green Party candidate. She told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Monday that she wrote a letter to the FEC saying she won't be spending more than $5,000 on her campaign.
Young is from a Cordova fishing family whose members still haven't been compensated by Exxon for the 1989 oil spill, and she was running to raise the prominence of that issue, she said.
Young said she recently was arrested at the Greenpeace protests of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.'s North Star development west of Prudhoe Bay.
Frank Vondersaar of Homer has announced that he intends to run for Young's seat as a Democrat. His latest filing indicates that he loaned his campaign $200 and has spent about two-thirds of that.
Attempts to contact Vondersaar were unsuccessful Monday.
The filing deadline for the congressional seat is June 1
Transportation union employees and their political action committees remain Young's biggest supporters, with $41,100 donated last year, according to an analysis of contributions exceeding $200 by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Marine Engineers Union alone had given Young's campaign $16,500, followed by the United Transportation Union at $10,000.
The next largest group of contributors were oil companies and associated industries, at $38,500.
Anadarko Petroleum Co. and its employees, relatively small players in the North Slope oil patch, gave Young a total of $8,000. That was well ahead of both BP Amoco, at $3,000, and Arco, at $2,250, last year.
The top 10 contributing industries included, in descending order, air transport companies, sea transport companies, lawyers (many of whom work as lobbyists), building trade unions, non-lawyer lobbyists, general contractors, trucking companies and public sector unions, according to the center's figures.
Young, who chairs the House Resources Committee, was appointed to his congressional seat in 1973. He has won re-election every two years since.
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