Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rep. Young's staff shaken by 2006 defeat of Rep. Pombo; enlist support from lobbyists


E-mail warned of opponents' plan of attack
CAMPAIGN: Staffer said "Outsiders" will go after Young with "innuendo."


Alaska Congressman Don Young's staff was shaken by the 2006 defeat of California Rep. Richard Pombo, one of Young's closest Republican colleagues in the House, who was painted by his opponents as being short on ethics.

Young's staff drew comparisons between the Pombo campaign and what Young now faces as he runs for a 19th term in the U.S. House. Pombo was a 14-year incumbent from a Republican-friendly district. He took over from Young as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee before the Republicans lost control of the House. Mike Anderson, Young's chief of staff, invoked Pombo when he approached a group of mostly lobbyists last year to help raise money for Young.

"Many of you observed or even worked former Congressman Richard Pombo's race," Anderson wrote in an e-mail to the group. "While each of you may have different opinions as to what may have contributed to the election results, at the strategic level, we will all agree it is a textbook case in how Outsiders can reach into a district with money, volunteers, and a well coordinated attack (to) defeat an incumbent not necessarily on his/her record, but on innuendo and perception."

The political arm of Defenders of Wildlife was largely credited with the campaign that helped oust Pombo. Conservation groups spent roughly $2 million on defeating Pombo, although they didn't focus on Pombo's environmental record. They portrayed Pombo as corrupt and beholden to corporate donors. They linked him to disgraced Republican lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff, whose tribal clients contributed heavily to Pombo's campaign.

Young is under investigation by the federal Department of Justice in connection with the Veco corruption scandal and other matters. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing though. (Complete Story)

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