Only one statewide office on ballot in Alaska primary

Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2000

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Alaska voters will go to the polls Tuesday for a primary election with only one statewide office on the ballot, and even with that one there's little doubt about the outcome.

The state's lone congressman, Republican Don Young, is running for his 15th two-year term on Capitol Hill.

Young, who chairs the House Resources Committee, has no opposition within the GOP on Tuesday and will face little more in November.

''He is a very powerful guy and has proven to be difficult to take on,'' said Chris Cooke, chairman of the Alaska Democratic Party. Three political unknowns are vying for the Democratic nomination, while candidates from the Green Party of Alaska and the Alaskan Independence Party also are on Tuesday's ballot.

Despite being heavily favored, Young said he's taking the election seriously.

''I never take anything for granted,'' he said.

Young has had tough re-election fights, but his seat now is considered a safe one for the majority Republicans.

So safe, in fact, that the usually partisan Young has been leading the fight for a bill that would create a $45 billion federal fund to buy land for parks and pay for wildlife protection and shoreline restoration. The bill, hailed by environmentalists but staunchly opposed by many conservatives as a federal land grab, passed the House with more support from Democrats than Republicans.

Young said he's sponsoring the bill because it's good for Alaska and will preserve something for future generations.

''This is something I believe in,'' Young said. ''This is the right thing to do.''

Half of the Alaska Senate's 20 districts also are on Tuesday's primary ballot, along with all 40 members of the state House of Representatives.

In most cases, incumbents from both major parties face little or no opposition.

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