Skip to main Content

Young-Berkowitz debate attack ads

  • Author: Alaska_Politics
  • Updated: April 29, 2016
  • Published October 26, 2008

From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage ---

During tonight's KTUU debate, Don Young complained to his challenger, Ethan Berkowitz, about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee TV ads and mailers calling him corrupt and saying that he is under four separate investigations.

The Republican congressman said he and Berkowitz had agreed they'd both run their campaigns about who can best represent Alaskans.

"Unfortunately, there's been a million and a half dollars spent by your junkyard dogs, the (DCCC) trying to smear me and my family, and I'm just asking you, why do you allow that to happen, why do you allow those ads to be run?" Young asked Berkowitz.

Berkowitz replied he's not legally allowed to talk to the DCCC about what should be in its advertising.

"I have said and I have run my race clean, I have run it because I don't want to be defined by your issues and your situation," Berkowitz said. "I want to be defined by the things I believe in."

Young said the ads are wrong and "you can stop it in a heartbeat, you can pick up that phone tonight and call that group and say quit running those ads...That would be a little bit of class."

"It hurts me because I thought we had a pretty good friendship," Young said to Berkowitz. "When you do that, I just feel bad about it, so I just want you to keep in mind I thought this was going to be a race above board."

Berkowitz, then given his turn to pose a question, asked Young why he thinks Alaska legislators are going to jail and what can be done to put a stop to the ethical problems in the state's politics.

"We come from a great society, that you are innocent until proven guilty," said Young. "And those who are guilty are serving time. To be accused, though, by individuals from your party, just as I mentioned before, without any grounds, is wrong."

Young is under federal investigation but denies wrongdoing and has not been charged. His campaign says the scope of the investigation isn't clear.

Young said the solution is transparency. He said he's been transparent-- including with the Coconut Road earmark for Florida.

Congress voted in April to ask the Justice Department to investigate Young's earmark. The spending direction made it into a highway bill during corrections as it was prepared for the president's signature -- after the House and Senate already voted on it.

Young has said he welcomes anyone to look into the earmark and has nothing to hide.

Later in the debate, when asked about Young's statement that Berkowitz would have to pledge allegiance to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if elected, Berkowitz said that's not so and "I appreciate that Congressman Young is trying to attach me to somebody with a little bit of guilt by association, which I think is a perilous slope for him to do, given his situation."

"See, clean election," Young broke in.

We'll post the full video of the debate if we can get it.

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.