In the following years, the House Ethics Committee cleared Young of any wrongdoing and federal investigators dropped their probe.
Not surprisingly, the Democratic bench is smaller. Democrats account for less than 15 percent of the electorate and one-third of the state Legislature.
But there are some Democrats who, like Begich, boast a political family pedigree and who state insiders believe could seek higher office some day.
Alaska insiders named state Sen. Dennis Egan, a former Juneau mayor whose father was the first governor of Alaska, and freshman state Rep. Andy Josephson, whose grandfather was the first president of American Federation of State and Municipal Employees and whose father was a state legislator.
Democrats also named state Sen. Bill Wielechowski, state Senate Minority Leader Johnny Ellis and Hollis French, who ran for governor in 2010, as legislators to watch.
Although Democrats haven’t had much recent success at the federal level, Joe Rothstein, a Democratic consultant and former editor of the Anchorage Daily News, said a Democrat could certainly win statewide in Alaska, especially with a little help from a nasty GOP primary.
“Alaska is a little more libertarian than right-wing Republican,” Rothstein said.
Farm Team is a state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress. The column runs on Thursdays.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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