Embattled Alaska Rep Don Young beats Palin pal in primary

Jake Turcotte

Well it only took an extra 21 days, but Representative Don Young - one of two embattled lawmakers from Alaska (or are there more?) - won his primary election last night.

Young, who has served as Alaska's sole Congressman for the past 35 years,  eeked out the win over his opponent, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, by a razor thin margin of 304 votes. The final tally of absentee and questionable (ie: hanging chad-like) ballots was compiled yesterday.

Palin's pal

Parnell was favored by GOP Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. We know this because we read her email. ; )

In a July 24 email exchange with Parnell, Palin says, while discussing a pesky talk show host, "...you are the right one for the Congressional position and he [a talk show host] KNOWS it..."

General election

Up next, the general election right? Not necessarily. Parnell has said he would ask for a recount if he lost. The lieutenant governor was traveling and could not be reached -- and his email accounts, for some odd reason, did not appear to be working.

Young's spokesperson, Mike Anderson, did not have a comment from the congressman on the possibilities of a recount as he promised not to wake Young with any news - good or bad.

"We need to wait and see what the lieutenant governor does now," Anderson told the AP. The move's in his court. We'll see where we go from here."

The Young campaign did release a statement from the sleeping congressman, however, that sounded much more diplomatic than his gruff reputation.

“I cannot express strongly enough my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Alaska. I am humbled by their continued support," Young's statement reads. “Needless to say, this was an extremely competitive primary election - the closest Congressional primary campaign in our state that I can remember. This competitive primary is a tribute to the quality of my two capable opponents and their campaigns.

McCain-Palin-Young tag team

With the apparent victory, will we see Young and the McCain-Palin ticket campaigning together-- doing a few victory laps? Unlikely. Young's got that federal investigation distraction going on and even more damaging is his reputation as the "King of Pork."

With the McCain campaign championing the eradication of earmarks -- and with Young's reputation for having sought earmarks whenever possible -- a McCain-Palin-Young combo doesn't mix.

Terrifying monstrosity

Plus, the congressman has raised the ire of John McCain before. As the Associated Press reported earlier this week, McCain railed against Young's highway spending bill back in 2005 calling it a "monstrosity [that was] terrifying in its fiscal consequences."

"I want no part of this," McCain said in a July 2005 statement. "This legislation is not — I emphasize not — my way of legislating."

Outside of the 'monstrosity' thing, McCain and Young are tight.

Young will now face Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz. A poll conducted from August 30 - September 3 showed Berkowitz leading by a 54 - 37 percent margin.

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