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Stevens wins primary, Young locked in a nail biter

Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) easily passed his first electoral test since being indicted in late July, beating Republican challengers David Cuddy and Vic Vickers in Tuesday’s Republican primary. 

With 70.5 percent of precincts reporting, Stevens had won 63 percent of the primary votes, besting Cuddy and Vickers, who drew 28 percent and six percent, respectively. Meantime, Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungAlaska lawmakers must get serious about Jones Act repeal How the Trump tax law passed: GOP adds sweeteners Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems MORE (R-Alaska) was trying to hang on to the chance to defeat his seat in the fall. However, with 70.5 percent of precincts reporting, he trailed Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by 232 votes.

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Cuddy and Vickers each spent well upwards of $500,000 in an attempt to unseat Stevens. However, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate had spent almost $1.8 million this election cycle in defense of his seat.

Stevens, who turns 85 in November, is seeking his seventh full term this fall in the face of July 29 indictments alleging he improperly received gifts.

Stevens will face Anchorage Mayor Mark BegichMark Peter BegichAlaska's lieutenant governor resigns over 'inappropriate comments' Republicans see silver linings in deep-blue states Election Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment MORE (D), who won his primary in a landslide.

Begich is a highly touted Democratic recruit who has led Stevens in polls following the senator’s indictment. A July 30 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Begich leading Stevens 50-37, while an Ivan Moore Research poll taken July 30-31 showing Begich leading by 21 points, with 56 percent to 35 percent.

Begich has raised $1.7 million this cycle and has spent $750,000 between July 1 and August 6, according to his most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) report.

The other marquee matchup in Alaska Tuesday saw the long-serving Young struggling to hold on to his seat in a race that was too close to call throughout the night.

Conservative groups had targeted Young this election cycle, alleging an affinity for earmarks by the incumbent, as well as ethical improprieties and ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The National Review endorsed Parnell, and the conservative Club for Growth spent hundreds of thousands of dollars opposing Young. Parnell also garnered the endorsement of Gov. Sarah Palin (R), with whom he was elected in 2006.

Young has served as the at-large representative from Alaska since 1973, and received a minor boost of his own from former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R-Ark.) Huck PAC, which endorsed him in June.

Young had spent over $2.5 million this election cycle, with over $830,000 of that coming between July 1 and August 6 alone, according to FEC filings. Parnell has spent less than $410,000 in the entire election cycle.

The winner of the Young-Parnell contest will face 2006 Lt. Gov. candidate Ethan Berkowitz, who bested Young’s 2006 challenger, Diane Benson, 56 percent to 36 percent Tuesday, with 70.5 percent of precincts reporting.

Berkowitz has been a darling of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) this cycle, having been placed on the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program.

Democrats projected confidence about this fall’s race, hoping to win back the state’s sole House seat for the Democrats for the first time since Young’s first victory.