The Conservative Patriots Group (CPG) announced their second batch of endorsements during the Fourth of July weekend, and headlining the list was Republican challenger Sheldon Fisher over incumbent Congressman Don Young. Fisher undoubtedly sealed the deal when he appeared at the June 24th Tea Party Rally on the Anchorage Park Strip.
As previously discussed in January, Sheldon Fisher 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. As an added bonus, Fisher can flex considerable financial muscle; a Forbes estimate showed he made more than $1 million in his job with Alaska Communications Systems in 2008.
But another factor which may have steered CPG towards Fisher is Don Young's reluctance to debate. Fisher has challenged Young to a series of six debates, but the Young campaign has persistently dodged, ducked, and weaved their way out of it. But Don Young still delivers; on July 5th, the Anchorage Daily News published an LTE from a constituent who lauded Young's staff in slicing through a bureaucratic problem with the Social Security Administration, resulting in a solution on the same day of his complaint.
This brings up Don Young's one overwhelming advantage -- seniority, 37 years worth of it. Don Young not only knows where all the proverbial bodies are buried, but may have also helped "bury" some of them. He knows Congress inside and out. When House Republicans unilaterally surrendered to the Democrats and imposed their own earmark moratorium, Don Young, knowing it would place Alaska at a competitive disadvantage, refused to follow suit. He wants to ensure Alaska gets its fair piece of the Federal pie.
And unlike Lisa Murkowski, who's clearly a RINO, Don Young is no RINO. He's an established conservative, having earned a rating of 75 from the American Conservative Union in 2009. Numbers USA rates Don Young a solid "B" on immigration, better than Lisa Murkowski's "C-". And if that isn't enough, in August 2008, Ron Paul endorsed Don Young. You can't get much more conservative than that. You can find more information on Don Young's record on VoteSmart, and the Washington Post has a full list of Don Young's votes HERE.
The other Republican in the race is John Cox. The Democratic opposition is supplied by Harry Crawford.
The Conservative Patriot Group also endorsed three state candidates:
-- Lieutenant Governor (Republican): Endorsed Mead Treadwell over Jay Ramras, Eddie Burke, and Bob Lupo. Mead Treadwell is considered to have a stronger and more diverse public service portfolio than Eddie Burke.
-- House District 13 (Republican):
-- House District 30 (Republican): Endorsed Jeannette O. Reddington over incumbent Charisse E. Millett. This was a surprise; Millet is a proven conservative. But I've since learned that Millett has publicly endorsed Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate, while CPG endorsed Joe Miller, so this could explain CPG's endorsement of Reddington.