Stevens, Young easily win Republican primary

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

ANCHORAGE -- U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who over three decades has raked in hundreds of millions in federal funds for Alaska projects, won Tuesday's Republican primary as expected.

Another senior legislator, U.S. Rep. Don Young, ran unopposed on the Republican ticket.

Stevens, who has represented Alaska in the Senate since 1968, was winning by an overwhelming margin over all candidates for Senate. With more than half of Alaska's 446 precincts reporting, Stevens was sailing with nearly 90 percent of the Republican vote.

His only Republican opponent was Mike Aubrey, a 50-year-old unemployed Sutton man who previously worked for Chickaloon Health Service.

Of the two Democrats running, the top vote-getter was Frank J. Vondersaar of Homer, with about 68 percent of the vote. Fellow Democrat Theresa Obermeyer, a former Anchorage school board member, trailed far behind with nearly 32 percent.

Obermeyer, who was arrested in 1995 after an altercation in the Anchorage federal building, ran against Stevens in 1996.

On the November ballot with Stevens and Vondersaar are Alaskan Independence candidate Jim Dore of Anchorage, Libertarian candidate Leonard ''Len'' Karpinski of Anchorage and Green Party winner Jim Sykes, who helped found the Green Party of Alaska in 1990.

In the House race, Young won an unchallenged bid for a 16th term in office.

Leading in the Democrat nomination was Clifford Mark Greene of Juneau, with about 65 percent of the vote over Fairbanks resident Dae Miles.

Green Party candidate Russell F. deForest and Libertarian Rob Clift ran unopposed in their primaries.

In a year with no serious challengers, Stevens ran a fairly low-profile campaign, except for a couple television ads, a few radio ads and direct mailers. One of his ads skirted his candidacy altogether and simply urged people to vote.

Stevens, who has said he expects to spend $1.5 million on the 2002 campaign, said Tuesday night he wasn't surprised by the heavy support from voters.

''The results are just what we expected with just one opponent,'' Stevens said.

Young, who was in Fort Yukon Tuesday and unavailable for comment, raised $1.3 million for his re-election bid, according to campaign staffers. For the primary, his campaign focused on radio ads reminding people to vote and introducing himself to new Alaskans.

Young plans a more active run for the general election, said his campaign manager Steve Dougherty.

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