Monday 20 October 2008

Alaska - At Large

The State of Alaska may be huge in size, but it is small in population terms. It is therefore entitled to two Senate seats (as are all States - which is why the Senate has 100 members) and one Representative (when this happens they are referred to as the 'Representative-at-large').

This blog looked at the Senate race on August 29th. Representative Don Young is fighting to retain the seat he has held since March 1973. As Electoral-Vote.com notes - "Normally an 18-term congressman who wants to be reelected just has to show up." But Representative Young has been involved in one of the many scandals which are affecting Alaskan politics. He is the subject of a federal investigation concerning bribes and failure to report gifts. He had a hard time in the Republican primary, but won by just 304 votes.

Prior to entering Congress Young was a tugboat captain on the Yukon. National Journal describes him as "a hot-tempered, salty-tongued true believer, given to malapropisms and tough talk". He once described environmentalists as a "self-centred bunch, the waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots".

Representative Young's campaign website is http://www.donyoung08.com/

His Democratic challenger is the former Alaska House Minority Leader, Ethan Berkowitz. He's had an interesting life - how many politicans can make claims similar to that on Mr Berkowitz's website-

"Ethan’s hauled nets and picked fish on commercial boats in Bristol Bay, herded reindeer in the Aleutians, and snowmachined from Manley to Nome. He has traversed glaciers, and driven the Haul Road. He has dipnetted on the Copper and hunted caribou on the Kobuk. He’s shared food everywhere from Metlakatla to Barrow, slept on couches in places from Kaltag to Kenai, picked berries in Bethel, gotten stitched up in Palmer, purchased a wardrobe in Petersburg, flipped a skiff in the Lynn Canal, tipped his truck just off the Glenn Highway, celebrated a birthday in Cordova, and spent a lot of time jawboning in Juneau."

His website is http://www.ethanberkowitz.com/index.php.

Alaska politics is very interesting at the moment (an example of typical British understatement). Newspapers in the state can be accessed via http://www.50states.com/news/alaska.htm