Politics

Alaska Rep. Don Young on Biden win: ‘It is time to put the election behind us’

Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young on Saturday acknowledged the election of President-elect Joe Biden and said that “it is time to put the election behind us” while U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would be ready to work with the new administration.

Young, a 24-term Republican, said in an emailed statement Saturday that he and Biden “have significant disagreements on the direction of our country” but said "I wish the President-elect well in what will no doubt be the most challenging chapter of his political career.”

“It is time to put the election behind us, and come together to work for a better tomorrow for our nation,” Young said.

Other congressional Republicans chose to stay silent as it became increasingly clear that Biden, running with Kamala Harris, had won enough votes to defeat President Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign has said it will pursue legal challenges.

A spokeswoman for Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said he would release a statement Sunday.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, meanwhile, posted a statement on the Alaska Republican Party’s social media feeds that said, in part, “I for one will support our President’s efforts to ensure that the election is completed with integrity. Let us hope and pray that it is.” He didn’t speak to the status of the vote-count or acknowledge Biden’s presumptive win as Young and Murkowski did.

Young, in his statement, acknowledged that the election wasn’t final, but said Biden had won the election.

“Although there are still votes to be counted, and potential legal cases to be heard, former Vice President Joe Biden has won the election,” Young said. “President Trump has been a tremendous ally for Alaska, and I have been proud to be his partner in Congress."

“I understand there are many disappointed people in Alaska and across our country today,” Young said. "But America is resilient, and every four years we go to the polls to elect a commander in chief and transfer power peacefully. Choosing a direction for our country through the polls, and not through violent protests or riots is the American way.”

Murkowski, Alaska’s Republican senior senator, congratulated both Biden and Harris in a statement Saturday evening and said she would be ready to work them after they take office.

Murkowski said that “while we may not always agree, I will work with them to do what is right for Alaska.” She echoed Young’s call to uphold the legacy of a peaceful transition of power.

“It appears we will soon turn to the peaceful transition of power, which is fundamental to our system of democracy and ultimately honors the American people. ... We must uphold that legacy, focus on bridging our divisions, and meet our challenges together as Americans," Murkowski said.

Young and Sullivan, who were up for re-election this year, both hold a wide lead over their main challengers — Alyse Young and Al Gross, respectively — with about 40% of ballots remaining to be counted next week. Murkowski isn’t up for re-election until 2022.


Read Young’s full statement:

"Today, a long, hard-fought, and contentious presidential election appears to be behind us. Although there are still votes to be counted, and potential legal cases to be heard, former Vice President Joe Biden has won the election. President Trump has been a tremendous ally for Alaska, and I have been proud to be his partner in Congress. He ran a strong campaign, and poured his passion into working on behalf of the American people. I understand there are many disappointed people in Alaska and across our country today. But America is resilient, and every four years we go to the polls to elect a Commander in Chief and transfer power peacefully. Choosing a direction for our country through the polls, and not through violent protests or riots is the American way. It is time to put the election behind us, and come together to work for a better tomorrow for our nation.

"This is a trying time for our country, and President-elect Biden has tremendous work ahead of him. This pandemic has severely damaged our economy, and too many Alaskans have been left wondering if their businesses will stay afloat, how they will pay rent, and if their children will ever return to school. I will be honest, President-elect Biden and I will have significant disagreements on the direction of our country, particularly when it comes to our economy and American energy independence. This was not a landslide win for President-elect Biden, and it appears that Republicans will maintain control of the Senate, and the Democratic House majority has shrunk. I call on President-elect Biden to listen carefully to those who did not vote for him. But I can assure you that in Congress, I will do as I have always done: stand up and fight for Alaska.

“We may come from different parties, but I wish the President-elect well in what will no doubt be the most challenging chapter of his political career. In addition to being named the most effective Member of Congress, I am consistently rated as one of the most bipartisan. I will work with a President Biden as I have worked with nine presidents from both parties. When the president is right for Alaska, I will work with him. When he is wrong, I will stand against any effort to harm our great state. No matter what party controls the White House, America will always be great. I sincerely thank President Trump for his service on behalf of our nation, and wish President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris well in the monumental task ahead. May God Bless America and Alaska.”


Read Murkowski’s full statement:

"Even as ballots are counted in Alaska and legal challenges continue in the Lower 48, former Vice President Joe Biden is now the projected winner of this close and hard-fought presidential race. Tonight, he declared victory and pledged to be a president who represents all Americans.

"I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and will be ready to work with their administration when it takes office. While we may not always agree, I will work with them to do what is right for Alaska—just as I will continue to emphasize collaboration and bipartisanship with my colleagues in a narrowly divided Senate.

"President-elect Biden has said now is the time to unite our country. While we look forward, we should also recognize the contributions President Trump, Vice President Pence, and all who served within their administration have made to our country, and specifically our state, over the past four years. Alaskans appreciate their work on our behalf.

“But it appears we will soon turn to the peaceful transition of power, which is fundamental to our system of democracy and ultimately honors the American people. Honoring their choice in who leads has always defined us and is the source of our exceptionalism. We must uphold that legacy, focus on bridging our divisions, and meet our challenges together as Americans.”


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