Don Young Brings Out the Big Guns
His reelection bid may be in trouble, but Rep. Don Young (R) isn't going down without a fight. In the last 24 hours, the embattled Alaskan's campaign has announced two big endorsements: one from the National Rifle Association and one from Huck PAC, the political action committee of former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee (R). (Though Huckabee has apparently felt the need to explain to some disgruntled supporters just why he's backing Young. More on that later.)
Young faces a tough Republican primary on Aug. 26 against Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, and if he gets through that, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz awaits him in the fall. The endorsement of the NRA's Political Victory Fund will help him in both contests, as courting the pro-gun rights vote is a bipartisan pastime in Alaska.
"Don Young has a perfect pro-gun voting record in Congress and he is a great friend to Alaska hunters and gun owners," NRA-PVF Chairman Chris Cox said in a release. "The NRA Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse Congressman Don Young for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives."
While the NRA's backing will help Young appeal to hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, Huckabee's endorsement should assist the incumbent in reaching out to another constituency -- evangelicals and social conservatives. Young has never been closely identified with social issues, though his voting record is reliably conservative on that front. And because of his love of pork-barrel spending, Young has never been a favorite of fiscal hawks. Nor was Huckabee during his time as Arkansas governor or as a presidential candidate, when Young was one of the first members of Congress to endorse him.
In its initial release announcing the endorsement, Huck PAC said it was backing the "strong conservative" Young because of his devotion to: "1. Making America energy independent. 2. Improving our nation's infrastructure. 3. A strong military and defense."
But after some posters on the Huck PAC Web site responded negatively, Huckabee himself felt the need to tack on an update: "Don Young has been a consistent pro-family, pro-life vote in the Congress. Don also endorsed my campaign and stood by me in the public arena defending my record from false attacks when other members of Congress wouldn't be seen with me. I don't expect everyone to agree with each endorsement we make. I am thankful that we are able to talk about our differences openly and respectfully. Thank you for your comments."
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