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EDlection2018: House’s Longest-Serving Member Holds Off Challenge From Education Activist

By Kevin Mahnken | November 8, 2018

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

Alaska Rep. Don Young won a 24th term in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday, fending off a spirited challenge from education activist and political newcomer Alyse Galvin. Young, the so-called “Dean of the House” (an honorific given to the chamber’s longest-serving member) led by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent with 98 percent of districts reporting.

Young, 85, a Republican who has held Alaska’s at-large House seat since 1973, has survived close races before. His outspoken nature and bevy of personal quirks — he once held a 10-inch knife to Republican leader John Boehner’s throat — have generally been a good fit for the state, even as some have clamored for a younger representative to send to Washington.

They thought they’d found one in Galvin, a political independent who won the Democrats’ August primary. She is principally known as a founder of the activist lobby Great Alaska Schools, which has pushed for higher education funding in the state.

Schools, along with most other public services in Alaska, have suffered a budget crunch as oil revenues have dipped. Galvin helped organize a letter-writing campaign in Juneau to ward off cuts to school funding, then convened a series of community meetings on school quality.

In her concession speech, Galvin said she was proud of the campaign, even as she came up short.

“We had motivated people to vote who had never voted,” Galvin said. “It’s time to bring government back to the people.”

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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