What better way to start off a political debate than freaking out on your opponent?
That is exactly what happened in Alaksa according to the state’s largest newspaper, which reported that U.S. Rep. Don Young exploded at Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar before a debate in Kodiak, Alaska, on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
According to the Alaska Dispatch News (formerly the Anchorage Daily News and the Alaska Dispatch), Don Young allegedly exploded at Dunbar after initially calling out the Democrat for not having the small town roots he has claimed throughout the campaign. Dunbar told ADN that he “touched Young on his arm lightly” and inquired about the allegation, which led to Don Young exploding on his 30-year-old challenger.
“He freaked out…. There is no other way to describe it.
“He kind of snarled at me and said, ‘Don’t you ever touch me. Don’t ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.'”
The comment could be perceived as threatening, but Dunbar just blew it off. He went on to tell Alaska Dispatch News that in spite of Don Young exploding at him backstage, he never felt threatened.
“He was blustering…. I was never seriously threatened, just amazed that anyone would talk that way. I never thought he would actually harm me. He’s all bark.”
You might remember Young as the congressman who was filmed in a now-infamous Vine clip manhandling Republican aide who had tried to block Young from entering a caucus meeting, as reported by The Huffington Post.
HuffPost also reports that Young, the longest serving current member of the House of Representatives with a total of 21 terms, was recently reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for his “his improper personal use of campaign funds, his acceptance of improper gifts, and his failure to report certain gifts.”
As for the situation Wednesday in Kodiak, Young’s office did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost but his campaign spokesman Matt Shuckerow provided the following statement to the Alaska Dispatch News.
“I can’t speak to what transpired, as I was not there. However, this appears to be nothing more than our opponent’s continuing campaign strategy, which is to distract the Alaskan voters from the vital issues that confront them.”
The alleged incident Wednesday, as well as the manhandling and ethics issues, are just the latest to come about since Young was caught using a racially derogatory term in 2013.
[Image via U.S. Rep. Don Young’s Twitter account]