U.S. Rep. Don Young wins in a walk, to meet Greene, others in November

Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Paralegal Clifford Greene, a Democrat who never has been elected to political office, is faced with a huge challenge come November -- defeating Don Young in the general election.

Alaska's sole U.S. Representative ran unopposed on the Republican ballot Tuesday. Young gathered nearly three times as many votes as Greene, who had 33 percent of the open vote with 98 percent of all precincts reporting.

Greene was followed by Green Party of Alaska candidate Anna Young who had 20 percent; Jim Dore, a part-time aircraft mechanic from Anchorage, with 16 percent, and Dae Miles, a political activist and squash farmer from Fairbanks, with 15 percent.

Frank Vondersaar, a Democrat and a commercial fisherman from Homer, got 12 percent of the vote and Libertarian Leonard Karpinski received 5 percent.

Greene, who does not have a telephone, did not immediately respond to an e-mail for comment. During the campaign, he said he favored comprehensive national health insurance, affordable housing and more money for public schools.

''If elected, I think coming from a common background would help toward making Congress more economically representative of the people, which is full of lawyers and millionaires,'' Greene's Web site says.

Young's campaign staff did not return calls for comment Tuesday night. Young spent the primary day as he traditionally does with his family at Fort Yukon.

Several of Young's opponents said they were running because voters were ready for a change. They also said they were angered by Young's sponsorship of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, equating it to a federal land-grab. The bill, which has passed the House but faces uncertain prospects in the Senate, would provide $45 billion to buy parks and open spaces, pay for wildlife protection and restore damaged coastline around the nation.

Young, 67, who spent $1 million on his last campaign, outspent his opponents who budgeted a few thousand dollars each on their campaigns.

Young first was elected to the House in 1973. When asked about retirement, he told The Associated Press that it wasn't on his radar screen, at least not yet.

''I enjoy what I'm doing,'' he said a week before the primary. ''I enjoy being the only congressman. Whatever I do, I get full credit for it.''

Young faced stiff challenges in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, but has had an easier ride more recently. In 1998, he won by nearly a 30-point margin against Senate Minority Leader Jim Duncan, D-Juneau.

Young, who chairs the House Resources Committee, is the second ranking Republican on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He will be forced to give up the chairmanship of the Resources Committee but is poised to become Transportation chair if Republicans retain control of the House in November.

Young is the 16th ranking Republican in that body.

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