Young to Be Certified Winner of Alaska Primary
UPDATE 4 PM: Parnell has conceded the race, declining to ask for a recount.
"If I thought there was anything wrong, inappropriate or unprofessional about the way this election tally was conducted, I would not only call for a recount, I would demand one. But that is not the case here," Parnell said in a statement released by his campaign. "While a recount could change the outcome of this exceedingly close election -- normal human error being what it is -- such a result is unlikely. As such, I do not believe it justifies an expenditure of taxpayer funds."
ORIGINAL POST: More than three weeks after Alaskans went to the polls, the counting is finally over (for now), with Rep. Don Young set to be certified as the winner of the House GOP primary over Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.
Young led by 151 votes after the initial Aug. 26 balloting, and the tally of absentee and provisional ballots pushed his final margin up to 304 votes, or 45.47 percent to Parnell's 45.19 percent. The results will be certified today by Alaska election officials.
"I cannot express strongly enough my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Alaska. I am humbled by their continued support," Young said in a statement released by his campaign last night.
Under Alaska law, the losing candidate or any group of 10 registered voters can request a recount, and because the final margin was so close, the state would bear the cost of the process. Parnell's campaign suggested before the counting was finished that it anticipated asking for a recount, but there has been no definite word today on whether he will request one.
Parnell may now have less incentive to keep fighting than he did on the day of the primary vote. John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate means that if Republicans capture the White House, Parnell would become governor.
Young said Wednesday that he was "chomping at the bit to return home and work hard for reelection," and Democrats are also excited by the prospect of having Young square off in the general election against their nominee, former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz. Recent polls have shown Berkowitz with a double-digit lead over Young, while the same surveys suggested Parnell had a much stronger shot against the Democrat in November.
Young has been buffeted by a stream of bad publicity this cycle, as he has become part of a federal investigation into corruption in Alaska and a potential separate House ethics probe into his authorship of a controversial highway bill earmark that benefited a Florida developer who raised money for Young's campaign.
September 18, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
Categories: 2008 Campaign , Ethics and Rules
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