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August 20, 2008

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Alaska GOP congressman Don Young, known for his outspoken defense of bringing back federal funds to his home state, received an unlikely endorsement today from a leading GOP voice against wasteful government spending.

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul endorsed his Congressional colleague despite their differing views on federal earmarking.

Young has taken heat for supporting the oft-parodied “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $223 million earmark to connect the town of Ketchikan, Alaska with a small island where 50 people reside and which houses the local airport.

"Ron Paul is a good friend and colleague. I admire his passion and commitment to less government and greater personal freedom," said Young in a statement.

“When we are faced with Members of Congress beholden to those extreme special interest groups who are dedicated to locking up our natural resources and limiting the rights of the individual American, it is important to have national leaders like Ron stand up and fight for all of us.”

Young is facing a serious primary challenge from the state’s lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell. Parnell has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, a leading anti-tax group that inveighs against wasteful spending. Polls show the race neck-and-neck.

Paul’s endorsement could make a difference in a close primary. The libertarian-minded congressman has serious standing among Alaska Republicans, and was the only GOP presidential candidate to campaign in Alaska. Paul finished in third place with 17 percent of the vote in the state’s caucus, beating out John McCain.