Alaska's lone congressman, Don Young, faces two challengers in tonight's Republican primary who are bidding for the state's at-large House seat. John Cox and Terre Gales face the seemingly insurmountable task of unseating the popular 79-year-old 20-term congressman who has held his seat since 1973. Cox attempted and failed to oust young in the 2010 GOP primary. Cox and Gales are both military veterans. Cox served in the navy for almost three decades, while Gales served in the second Iraq war. Young also served in the army from 1955 to 1957.
Nationally, Young is perhaps best known for his, and then-Senator Ted Stevens' 2005 attempt to secure $223 million in funding for the infamous "bridge to nowhere." The proposed became a focal point of the 2008 election when then-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin was the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate. Although, the bridge itself was never built, it nonetheless became the embodiment of wasteful earmarks.
All three candidates are in agreement on the major issues, with Cox and Gales running more against the length of Young's tenure than anything else. But the Tea Party-inspired anti-incumbency fervor of 2010 has died down, and even then Young rebuffed a challenge from Cox in an election that saw GOP establishment stalwarts defeated across the country. It was in that election where Senator Lisa Murkowski was defeated by Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in the Republican primary, only to defeat Miller in the general election after launching a well-coordinated write-in campaign.
Young is expected to win handily.
Meanwhile, five Democrats are vying for the right to challenge young in November. They are state Representative Sharon Cissna, Debra Chesnut, Matt Moore, Doug Urquidi, and Frank Vondersaar. Cissna is best known for being prevented from taking a flight by the Transportation Security Administration after she refused an airport pat-down.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face an uphill battle against Young, the presumptive winner on the GOP side.