U.S. Rep. Don Young was holding a razor-thin lead this morning over Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell in a race that ran neck-and-neck all night — and is still too close to call.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting in the Republican U.S. House primary this morning, Young was leading by less than one quarter of one percentage point. The difference was just 145 votes, with Young up 42,461 to 42,316.
Nine of the state's 438 precincts are still unreported early this morning, along with an unspecified number of absentee ballots. All of the remaining precincts are in rural Alaska areas.
The race was close all night as returns were counted, with Parnell claiming a several hundred vote lead as Alaskans went to bed late Tuesday.
Young picked up votes overnight as precincts were counted overnight in rural Alaska, where he has traditionally enjoyed strong support.
The winner of the Young-Parnell race will face Democrat Ethan Berkowitz in the November general election. Berkowitz, a former Democratic leader in the state Legislature, defeated Diane Benson in the Democratic U.S. House primary.
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens avoided Young's drama Tuesday night, easily crushing six Republican primary challengers despite his indictment on federal felony charges of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and home repairs from the oil field services company Veco Corp.
Stevens, tentatively set to stand trial Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C., will face Democrat Mark Begich in the November election. Begich, the mayor of Anchorage, easily swatted aside Ray Metcalfe and Frank Vondersaar in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Begich was bringing in over 90 percent of the vote.
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