The lieutenant governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell, announced today that he's challenging ethically embattled Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) in the Republican primary, raising the likelihood of a hotly contested fight for the GOP nomination.
Parnell announced his intentions at the state’s Republican Party convention, according to The Associated Press. He will be formally kicking off his campaign at a news conference this afternoon in Anchorage.
Parnell is an ally of the state's governor, Sarah Palin, a reform-minded Republican who unseated former Gov. Frank Murkowski in a 2006 Republican primary. An attorney, he has served in both the state House and state Senate.
Republicans have been concerned about holding on to Young’s seat, given his recent ethical troubles. Young is under investigation by the Justice Department over his ties to oil services giant Veco Corp. and has spent much of his campaign funds on legal fees. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Polling has shown Young would face a serious risk losing his seat if he was the Republican nominee. (See more from The Crypt here.)
Young was already facing a primary challenge from conservative state Sen. Gabrielle LeDoux.
The state's primary will be held on Aug. 26.