It is, perhaps, a sign of the Republican Party's national weakness that 17-term incumbent Don Young is actually campaigning to retain his seat.
Sure, his campaign is a bit slow off the mark - just launching its web site today, for instance - and I don't imagine he'll be doing too much beyond issuing a few press releases addressing Diane Benson's key themes and showing up at a few feel-good events.
Still, the fact that Young felt forced to run an ad in which he even mentions his "opponent," is a sign, I think, that Young at least takes this threat with a degree of serious that 17-term incumbents generally don't.
Generally, though, I think some left-leaning and disaffected Alaskans are just looking for something to hold onto in a hopeful national atmosphere.
Anna Godduhn, a coordinator for the Fairbanks Coalition for Peace and Justice, said she was supporting Benson as a candidate and not as a member of one party or another.
“I’ve never seen a viable alternative to Don Young,” she said, “and I’m just very, very excited.”
"Viable" is relative.