Friday, October 20, 2006

Diane Benson giving Don Young a scare

Don Young is treating Diane Benson, a Democratic Party candidate, as though she's a third-party candidate. It's interesting that she's being treated rather the way she was by Ulmer when she ran as a Green in 2002. (Shoe's on the other foot, hey, Dems? This is the problem with this kind of exclusionary, undemocratic tactic: it comes back to bite you. The party in power plays dirty....)
But Benson has a good chance of winning, more than perhaps any other candidate running against Young for quite a while. Benson showed 47% to Young's 53% in a straw poll by the League of Women Voters here in the Tanana Valley, and 36% to 52% in a more recent poll. That's better than anybody's done against Young in a long, long time, certainly better than last time (2004: Young 71%, Higgins (Dem) 22%).
Young is in trouble this time. According to the Anchorage Daily News:
Young calls himself the fourth most powerful congressman in America, but Metcalfe said that just puts him in a Republican clique that includes House Speaker Dennis Hastert, in trouble over his handling of the sex scandal involving House pages; former Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, indicted on charges of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws; and former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California, now in prison after pleading guilty to taking bribes.
Young's leadership PAC donated $5,000 in September 2005 to Cunningham's defense fund, according to an online database of Federal Election Commission records operated by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Other edgy topics for Young include his reported connection with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his campaign contributions from executives with Veco, the oil field services and construction company now under investigation by the FBI for possible influence peddling.
Veco executives have been Young's No. 1 campaign contributor since 1989, sending more than $200,000 his way since then, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Benson's got mostly grassroots support: 99% of her campaign contributions are coming from individuals. Only 56% of Young's contributors are individuals; 36% comes from political action committees.

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