Okay. As promised, a short thread breaking down the absolutely bonkers elections happening in Alaska today, including a race that could unseat the current longest-serving member of Congress. Let's journey to the frozen north together.
There are two key races happening in Alaska: the governor’s race and the race for our one (1) House seat. What ties these two races together? A plane crash, a knife-wielding congressman, and a common theme: women having unprecedented impacts on every race.
In the race for Congress, Don Young (R) is facing off Alyse Galvin (D). I cannot adequately explain Don Young in a tweet. He regularly wields an 18-inch walrus penis bone for when trying to emphasize a point. He once *threatened to bite* a fellow Republican.
On another occasion, Young literally pulled a knife on John Boehner over an debate about earmarks. When a reporter asked him about it, Young defended himself by explaining: "It's what you call survival law." Obviously.
Please note: Alaska is only 59 years old. In that time, only three men have represented Alaska in the House. Don Young was elected in 1973 — he’s held the seat for *45 years.* That's more than 75% of the seat's EXISTENCE. Until now, he’s never faced a serious challenger.
And this will be important later: How did Don Young get the House seat in the first place? Weirdly, he actually lost his first race for Congress. Back in 1972, Young ran against a guy named Nick Begich, who campaigned hard and held a consistent lead in the polls.
But then…Nick Begich disappeared. In a plane crash. Three weeks before the election. He was never found, but HE WON ANYWAY. Begich was eventually declared legally dead. *That’s* how Don Young got into office — in a special election for the race he’d just lost to a dead man.
Back to present. Young is running against Alyse Galvin, a first-time candidate whose career has been in education policy. You can see tons of national trends reflected in her campaign, including that her minuscule staff (<15 paid people) are virtually all women.
They are virtually tied in the polls. So let’s move to the governor’s race.
Right now, Alaska is the only U.S. state with an independent governor – Bill Walker. Walker’s lieutenant governor, a 2-for-1 deal on the ticket, is – or rather, was – a guy named Byron Mallott.
The governor race was already weird, because Walker (I) was facing Mike Dunleavy (R) when, suddenly, former senator Mark Begich (D) decided to run, too. Lots of left and center folks were PISSED at Begich. Why risk splitting the ticket, handing the seat to a Republican?
So voting starts. Absentee ballots get mailed. And then: #MeToo. The lieutenant governor I mentioned, Mallott, suddenly resigns out of NOWHERE for comments he made to a woman staffer – comments egregious enough to force an immediate resignation, but that have NEVER BEEN REPORTED.
FOUR DAYS LATER, at a forum WITH THE REPUBLICAN, the governor DROPS OUT OF THE RACE – and endorses the Democrat. Walker’s name is still on ballots. Votes had already been cast. But now he’s out. And it’s anybody’s race.
And if you’re wondering – the plane crash victim, Nick Begich, who won an election three weeks after dying in a plane crash? Yeah.
He was Mark Begich’s father.
I could go on and on – about how Alyse Galvin's intense campaigning is helping boost turnout for Mark Begich, about Walker's fervent efforts to convince people NOT to vote for him, about how all of this might turn on a down-ballot initiative involving salmon. But it's a busy day.
So that’s the state of play in Alaska (and you can look up "Salmon Habitat Protections and Permits Initiative" if you're curious).
Happy election day, everybody!
This thread was an absolute thrill ride, thank you.
P.S. I FORGOT TO MENTION: You know how Don Young held a (10-inch!) knife to John Boehner's throat? A decade later, Boehner was the best man at Young's wedding. Yes. Really. Okay bye for real
So glad you enjoyed!
oh fuck and he referred to the BP oil spill as a "natural phenomena" once