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Politics

Alyse Galvin and incumbent Don Young battle a 2nd time for Alaska’s sole US House seat

Alyse Galvin and Don Young are vying for the US House seat in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Don Young is fending off a second challenge from Alyse Galvin for Alaska’s sole seat in the U.S. House after defeating her in 2018.

Young, the longest-serving Republican ever in the U.S. House, is seeking his 25th term in Tuesday’s election.

In this year’s race, Galvin, 55, tried to paint Young as someone who has lost clout and at 87 years-old is no longer able to carry out the job effectively. She is an independent who won the Democratic primary.

Young counters he is one of the most effective congressmen and continues to work hard for Alaska. He attempted to tie Galvin to liberal Democrats. An ad on an Anchorage city bus featured the face of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, with the words: “Alyse Galvin is on Team Pelosi.”

Young called Galvin by the wrong first name on three occasions in the last two debates ahead of the election, referring to her as Alice or Allison.

“OK, Don, let’s start with my name, Alyse Galvin. Please show that kind of respect that we know Alaskans expect of all candidates running for Congress,” she said when correcting him last week during a virtual forum organized by the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s not clear whether this was an intentional slight or whether he truly cannot remember his opponent of three years. Regardless, Alaskans deserve better,” said Galvin’s campaign manager, Malcolm Phelan.

Numerous messages seeking comment sent to Young’s campaign manager Don Young, his congressional spokesman Zack Brown and to Glenn Clary, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, were not returned to The Associated Press.

Rep. Don Young and challenger Alyse Galvin gathered with supporters to wave to motorists in Anchorage on Nov. 2 and 3, 2020. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Edward Chamot, who moved to Anchorage with his wife in 1982 from Poland to reunite with family, voted for Republicans at the top of the ticket, including Young.

Chamot voted for Young to keep the seat, but says it’s time for him to “retire, probably. It’s time for him.”

Richard Miller, 30, of Anchorage voted for Galvin over Young,

“I haven’t voted for him since I was able to vote. I don’t like him,” he said after casting his ballot at University Center.

“Even my history teacher, who is a conservative, basically commented on how he just doesn’t show up, doesn’t do his job, likes to get a free paycheck, likes to gallivant around the world on the taxpayers' dollars,” he said.

Young was born on June 9, 1933, in Meridian, California. He earned a teaching degree in 1958 from Chico State College and moved to Alaska. He eventually settled in the village of Fort Yukon, which is above the Arctic Circle, where he taught in a Bureau of Indian Affairs school.

He became only the fourth person since statehood to represent Alaska in the U.S. House. The Republican lost to U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, a Democrat, in the 1972 election even though Begich and Rep. Hale Boggs of Louisiana were missing and presumed dead when their plane never arrived in Juneau on a campaign trip.

Young won a special election for the seat the following year after Begich had been declared dead. Young now holds the ceremonial title of Dean of the House, bestowed upon the longest-serving member of the body with no official duties other than to swear in the speaker at the beginning of a new term.

Galvin is a third-generation Alaskan who is an advocate for public schools. Her husband, Pat, is an oil executive and served in the cabinet of former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

Young and Galvin have a contentious relationship. During a 2018 debate, Galvin complained that Young hurt her hand during a handshake. Young countered she staged that for publicity.

Young has always said he won’t mind losing to a qualified candidate, but in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, he called Galvin “incompetent.”

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