Update, 7 p.m.:
From Lisa Demer in Anchorage --
Now both U.S. Rep. Don Young and challenger Ethan Berkowitz have chimed in on the results of the U.S. House race.
Unlike the flip-flopping race for U.S. Senate, it was never in doubt after Election Day who won Alaska's only House seat. It still took Democratic challenger Berkowitz until this afternoon, with the counting of nearly all the outstanding ballots, to concede defeat to Republican Young.
The new count: 141,754 votes for Berkowitz and 158,034 for Young. With the Alaskan Independence Party candidate, Don Wright, factored in, the vote breaks down this way: 50 percent for Young, 45 percent for Berkowitz, and 5 percent for Wright.
With the new count in hand, Berkowitz called and congratulated Young and his wife, Lu, on a 19th term in Congress.
"I'm proud we ran a race that elevated the quality and tone of a campaign, and one that focused on issues and values," Berkowitz said in a written statement. "Though the 2008 campaign has come to an end, the need to solve problems of high energy costs, affordable health care, and economic opportunity endures. I will continue to fight for Alaska and these goals into the future."
Pollsters had counted Young out but they were wrong.
"I am humbled and grateful to the people of Alaska for their show of support in this election year - both in the primary and the general elections. I am even more committed to this important position and will work to serve Alaskans in every region of our State," Young said in a written statement.
Berkowitz ran a good race, Young said.
"He and his team showed a lot of class throughout this campaign as we focused on what was important to Alaska and Alaskans. No doubt, Ethan has a very bright future ahead of him," Young said.
Young said he'll use his seniority on the Natural Resources and Transportation committees to help Alaska. He said he'll try again to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. And Congress will be working on a new national highway bill that will fund transportation projects for six years.
He also outlined tough work ahead on the financial crisis.
"America's economy is in a perilous position. We must work in a bipartisan effort to address the major problems. At the same time, we must protect the American taxpayer throughout every step of the process and not just throw taxpayer dollars at poorly managed industries," Young said in his statement.
Berkowitz noted that he got more votes than any Democrat challenging Young in the state's history. While Democrat Diane Benson made a good run in 2006, in the three general elections before that, Young claimed 70 percent of the vote or better. Still, one Democrat came closer than Berkowitz in terms of the percentage of the total. Back in 1990, former Valdez Mayor John Devens nearly squeaked by the incumbent, taking 48 percent of the vote in a two-way race.
After the votes were counted Nov. 4 and into the morning of Nov. 5, Berkowitz trailed by more than 16,000 votes. The gap narrowed only slightly as additional ballots were counted in the last two weeks.