Thursday, January 21, 2010
Former ACS Executive Sheldon Fisher To Challenge Alaska Congressman Don Young For Republican Nomination
The race for Alaska's only U.S. House seat just got tighter - and more interesting - on January 21st, 2010 when a former executive for Alaska Communications Systems (ACS) decided to challenge Congressman Don Young for the Republican nomination. Media stories published by the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and KTUU Channel 2. Story finally picked up by the Mormon Times on January 23rd. Since this post was first published, KFQD conservative talk show host Dan Fagan has posted an interview with this new candidate HERE.
Sheldon Fisher threw his hat into the ring because he is a fiscal conservative who wants to cut government spending to control the national deficit, create jobs and strengthen support for families and children. He believes Alaska has more potential than any other state, but is mired in gridlock as rival stakeholders compete to develop the state's resources. He claims his business background shows that he is capable of defeating Young and is up to the job, despite the fact that he's never run for public office before. His campaign website shows that two of his primary Alaska political role models are Walter Hickel and Jay Hammond:
The Hill speculates that Fisher may also have the financial muscle to compete. They cite a Forbes estimate showing he made more than $1 million with ACS in 2008.
Most recently, the 47-year-old Fisher, who's married with seven children, worked as a senior vice president in sales and service for ACS. Before that, Fisher worked for Sprint's wireless broadband business. Fisher graduated with a law degree from Yale Law School and holds an economics degree from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who respects the separation of church and state and would not let his religious values dictate his political decisions.
Fisher joins Don Young and Andrew Halcro on the Republican side. The lone Democratic candidate so far is Alaska State Rep. Harry Crawford. Thomas Higgins, who has previously run for office as a Green and as a Democrat, is listed as a "Non-Affiliated" candidate HERE.
Analysis: We could indeed see a changing of the guard in 2010. Don Young is an experienced warhorse who knows Congress inside out. But he's been dogged by a Federal investigation in which it's alleged that he illegally received gifts totaling up to nearly $200,000 over 13 years from Bill Allen's now-defunct oil field services company, VECO. The documents filed in court in October 2009 also claim that corporate funds paid up to $15,000 a year for expenses associated with Young's annual pig roast fundraiser. However, Bill Allen has been proven to be a liar at times, which is why the Feds haven't indicted Young.
Andrew Halcro is as clean as a hound's tooth. He's a fiscal conservative famous for asking the question of candidates, "How do you plan to pay for this". However, his social liberalism, combined with his pursuit of Sarah Palin on his blog during the Troopergate saga, will likely lose him the Palin wing of the Alaska Republican Party. He could pick up independent support to compensate, though.
The Palinistas may migrate to Sheldon Fisher because he's not only a fiscal conservative, but is likely to be a social conservative as well. The majority of Mormons tend to be social conservatives, Harry Reid notwithstanding. As a Republican, this particular race will be the toughest electoral choice for me since I moved to the state in 1991.