Democrat-backed independent challenger Alyse Galvin won more votes in Alaska’s primary than incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Young, marking the first time in nearly 30 years that Young’s challenger has tallied more votes than him ahead of the general election.
According to official results from the Aug. 18 primary, Galvin netted 53,258 votes in the Alaska Democratic Party’s primary to Young’s 51,972 votes in the Alaska Republican Primary, despite the GOP primary drawing nearly 7,000 more voters than the Democratic ballot.
Both faced three-way races for each party’s nomination. Galvin, who challenged Young in 2018, won 85.8% of the votes cast in the Alaska Democratic Party’s primary while Young won 76.1% of the Alaska Republican Party’s primary vote.
“I’m grateful for the incredible support of Alaskans all across this great state,” Galvin said in a prepared statement about the news. “It is clear Alaskans are ready for new leadership that listens to our communities and fights for what we need: good-paying jobs, lower health care costs, and a strong education system. We can only do this necessary work if we get money out of politics, so I am proud to be walking the talk and building this grassroots movement without a dime from corporate PACs.”
Galvin’s 2018 challenge against Young served to be his most competitive in a decade, and she finished within seven points of Young. Polling in Alaska is notoriously spotty, but what is out there has been promising for Galvin, who has also continually outpaced Young in terms of fundraising.
Democratic voters and independent voters far outpaced Republicans in terms of by-mail absentee voting this year—a trend that is continuing ahead of the general election. The Democratic Party’s primary is open to all voters while the Republican Party’s primary is only opened to registered Republican, undeclared and nonpartisan voters.
The last time Young’s challenger outpaced him in the primary was 1994 when Democrat Tony Smith received 41,604 votes. Young received 41,490 votes in that year’s primary and went on to beat Smith by about 24-points in the general election.