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News guide: Nixon, dancing candidates and uniting mankind

November 5, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Who has the moves in the Alaska governor’s race? What were you doing when Roberta Flack topped the charts? And what does the OWL Party stand for? Here’s a news guide to Tuesday’s election.

FROM NIXON TO TRUMP

Richard Nixon was president, “All in the Family” was the top-rated television show and Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” topped the charts the day Don Young was sworn in as Alaska’s sole representative in the U.S. House.

Nine presidents, countless TV shows and a plethora of bubble gum pop hits later, Young is still in office.

The Alaska Republican is the longest-serving member of the House. With that honor comes a title, dean of the House. The only official duty is to swear in the House speaker after elections.

Or as House Speaker Paul Ryan joked last year, he had to remind the sometimes gruff Young that his job is to swear in the new speaker, not swear at the new speaker.

Young in 1973 won a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, a Democrat who was presumed killed in a plane crash in southeast Alaska along with House Speaker Hale Boggs of Louisiana. Young was sworn into office on March 14, 1973. Begich was the father of Mark Begich, who is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Tuesday’s election and a former U.S. senator.

Young is the last serving member of Congress from the time Nixon was president, said his spokeswoman, Murphy McCollough.

THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR CAN MOVE ... AND GROOVE

Alaska gubernatorial candidate Democrat Mark Begich likes to dance — and he’s pretty good at it, according to his brother, state Sen. Tom Begich.

“He’s probably one of the finest dancers you’ll ever see,” said Tom Begich, adding that his brother is adept at ballroom dancing. “He learned during the late-70s disco days.”

A video on YouTube shows Begich on the dance floor, twirling partners, during an Athabascan Fiddlers’ Association Dance in 2013.

Begich and his wife, Deborah Bonito, were introduced by Tom Begich, who talked up his brother’s dances moves to her.

Republican Mike Dunleavy grew up playing basketball — he’s 6 feet, 7 inches tall — and continued playing when he moved to Alaska. He met his wife, Rose, during a big basketball tournament in Nome during the Iditarod sled dog race. She was playing, he said, and he was on a team with her brother-in-law. Dunleavy said he met her at dinner one night at that teammate’s house.

“I don’t think she ever saw me play,” he said.

INDEPENDENT BUT ....

Alyse Galvin is challenging Republican Rep. Don Young in the race for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House. She is an independent, and switched her party affiliation more than a decade ago because she said she was tired of the partisan bickering. Independent is a catch-all phrase for people who do not declare a party or don’t have one.

And Alaska has a lot of those.

The largest recognized block of Alaska voters is the 240,323 people who have registered as undeclared, meaning they do not declare a party affiliation. Another 84,893 voters registered as nonpartisan, or those with no party affiliation whatsoever. Combined, these voters account for more than half of the state’s 569,903 registered voters, according to statistics from the state Division of Elections.

Among recognized parties, Republicans lead the way with 141,647 registered voters. There are 75,144 Democrats, 17,016 members of the Alaskan Independence Party and 7,430 Libertarians.

There are also smaller but officially recognized parties in Alaska, including the 63 members of the UCES’ Clowns Party, 46 members of the Twelve Visions Party, and the 5 members of the OWL Party.

For the record, the manifesto of the OWL Party is to “unite mankind to promote the existence of humanity.” The party’s website notes that the sun is expanding, so mankind must develop technologies to “get into space.”

But once humans are in the Milky Way galaxy, more peril awaits as it is in a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy. “So to provide the best opportunity of our species surviving the sooner we get to space the better,” the party’s website says.

Uniting the world in the common goal of humanity’s survival “is in all of our best interest,” before adding that “every country needs defined borders.”

The Progressive Party of Alaska is listed among recognized parties, but there are no registered members.

WHEN TO VOTE

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

However, first returns are not released until 9 p.m. because a few voters live in the western Aleutians, which is an hour behind the majority of the state.

More information, including where your polling place is located, can be found at the Division of Elections website.

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