Bayou-Picayune Podcast, S02 EP19: Losing the Election to a Dead Man
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How do you lose an election to a dead man?
Did you know that the longest-serving member in the U.S. House of Representatives Donald Young of Alaska lost a congressional election to a dead man?
In 1972 Young was running as a Republican against Nick Begich the Democrat who was in office. But a few days before the election Begich was killed in a private airplane crash with Hale Boggs. The Democrats house whip.
Before Election Day voters have been informed that both Begich and Boggs were missing and presumed dead. Since the bodies were never found there remained doubt about the two congressmen. And even though Young was running against a corpse the corpse won by more than 4,000 votes.
When Begich was finally declared legally dead, Alaska conducted a special election and Young was elected in March 1973.
Young is still serving in that position. In fact, he is currently the longest-serving member in the U.S. House of Representatives.