Indicators mixed in US House race

(Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Candidate Alyse Galvin would seem to be on a roll. Two recent polls have shown her within 4 percentage points of Alaska Congressman Don Young, and Monday the Democratic nominee reported she’s raised nearly $1.2 million. That’s more than the Republican incumbent has raised. But other signs aren’t so positive for the challenger.

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The Galvin campaign seems to always have new union endorsements to announce. She has the National Education Association on her side, and the American Federation of Teachers, which includes the Alaska Public Employees Association.

That might be expected: teachers’ and public employees’ unions lean more Democratic, and Galvin made a name for herself pressing the Legislature for more money for schools.

But Galvin also has endorsements from a couple of the building trade unions – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

The business rep for the Painters Local 1959, Bronson Frye, says the union likes her support for apprenticeships. But Frye said the endorsement shouldn’t be viewed as a statement against Young.

“To be clear, he has been good for organized labor, particularly the building trades for a long time,” Frye said. “We just felt that Alyse – Miss Galvin – had a vision that really appealed to us.”

The Painters is a relatively small union. It represents a couple of hundred Alaska workers. The IBEW Local 1547 has nearly 5,000 members. Its leaders declined to discuss its endorsement of Galvin.

But the powerful Teamsters Local 959 is even larger, and the Teamsters endorsed Young.

As for the polls showing Galvin is right behind Young, online election forecasters have looked at them. But they still say Young is likely, or even very likely, to win the race.

The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight.com say Galvin has at best a 30 percent chance of winning. The publication “Inside Elections” foresees the race as a solid win for the Republican. And Larry Sabato, who edits the “Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball” newsletter at the University of Virginia, has Young as a “likely” win, but warns he might push the race to a more competitive category before Election Day – now just three weeks away.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz