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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:18 GMT
Alaska

Alaska is a solid Republican state and is likely to remain so, particularly the populous and affluent areas around Anchorage. The last Democrat elected to Congress was in 1974.

Key facts
Population: 607,007 (ranked 49 among states)
Governor: Tony Knowles (D)
Electoral College votes: 3
Alaska's relationship with Washington DC has long been dominated by battles over control of the local economy. The state's vast natural resources are of great interest to federal and state governments.

The Democrats are perceived as wanting to protect national resources and, largely because of this, they have been a dormant political force in Alaska for many years.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 1 Republican
Senate: 2 Republican
Interest in Alaska was intensified in 1967 with the discovery of the 11bn barrel North Slope oil field. It triggered a lengthy battle between Washington's environmentalists and Alaska's entrepreneurs, who were keen to exploit a resource that they saw as their own.

The state receives all the royalties, providing it with 80% of its revenue. In 1980 the state abolished its income tax and created a low-tax regime that has enabled Alaska to grow despite the decline in oil revenues and military spending.

Voting record
1996: Dole 51%, Clinton 33%
1992: Bush 39%, Clinton 30%, Perot 28%
1988: Bush 60%, Dukakis 36%
The state not only stands apart geographically from the rest of the USA, but it would not be part of the country at all had Secretary of State William Seward not purchased it from Russia in 1876 for $7.2m.

Alaska has been inhabited longer than anywhere else in the Americas and one in seven Alaskans are native peoples. But only a fifth of the population was born in Alaska and more than 40% live in Anchorage.

Tourism is booming, with one million visitors to Alaska each year.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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