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Posted by on Aug 27, 2008 in Politics | 9 comments

Alaskan GOP Voters Give Present To Democrats

In an age of partisan politics, people are always calling for people to be kinder to the other side. In Alaska that may have happened as Republican primary voters have handed at least one gift, possibly two to the Democratic Party.

In the race for US Senate, the voters have renominated probably the most-corrupt and out-of-touch member of the Senate in the form of Ted ‘I don’t know where that money came from’ Stevens. Unless Stevens shows a lot more class than he has so far by dropping out of the race (thereby allowing the GOP to pick a new candidate), it pretty much guarantees that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich will become the first Democratic Senator from Alaska since 1980.

In the race for the US House the contest is still too close too call but it looks like Don Young has defeated Lt. Governor Sean Parnell by a margin of about 150 votes. Young is probably in the top 10 of most-corrupt members of the House and he faces a strong challenge from former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz (D) who in all likelihood will become the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the House since 1972.

And people wonder why voters like me are disgusted with the GOP.

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  • APR

    Alaska is sort of a strange political state though and can be hard to predict. Stevens has been an overwhelmingly popular figure in Alaskan politics for many decades and the indictment could actually garner some support from Alaskans keen to rally around “Uncle Ted”. I think in the end Begich will win, but it will be close. In most other states, an old, sometimes embarrassing, indicted senator would lose in a landslide to a popular mayor. Alaska is different though.

  • pacatrue

    Hey, it’s good for every party to have their corrupt politicians. Without them, we couldn’t have so many politician jokes.

  • StockBoySF

    Maybe Alaska just likes dark nights and dark days. 🙂

  • kritt11

    They love Uncle Ted up there because he builds bridges to nowhere. Seriously, the man has seniority and knows how to work the system to make sure lots of federal taxpayer dollars go to projects in his state. Its no real mystery.

  • APR

    Actually, Steven’s popularity goes way beyond the appropriations. His popularity goes way back to the push for statehood in the 1950s. He’s seen as thoroughly Alaskan, from his independence in Washington to his feisty temper. He’s maintained very close ties to communities in AK and is seen as a champion of the Alaskan way of life (mainly by supporting extractive industries).

    There’s a very large ‘circle the wagons’ mentality in AK. I’m not sure that the indictment and national attention won’t cause many people to rally to support Stevens (as evidenced by his huge primary win, though against weak opposition). Alaskans tend to protect their own.

    This all could be changing though. As Anchorage grows and more people from outside come into the state, the demographics are changing. The recent attention on ‘old style politics’, including the FBI investigations into VECO and the nepotism of Frank Murkowski has caused some changes to the political system. Nepotism, bribery, and political favors have long been the operating system in Alaska and really only in the past few years has this started to change. The Palin-Parnell wing of the R’s has come on strong lately and could substantially change the political climate up there.

    If anyone is interested, there are a number of interesting articles on the Anchorage Daily News discussing recent political scandals. It gives some interesting insight into the 49th state.

  • superdestroyer

    This also shows that the party that tries to market itself as the small government party is more vulnerable to bad members than the big government party. It is easy to associates all Repubilcans with a corrupt politicains but Democrats are never associates with their corrupt members. It also helps the Democrats that many of their corrupt members are minorities and thus assured that the MSM will ignore them.

  • kritt11

    SD- Guys like Stevens make the GOP corrupt members look corrupt AND hypocritical, because they are supposed to stand for small government, yet use positions of power to pile on the pork with the best of them. Democrats never pretend to be the party of small government, so porkers are the norm.

  • kritt11

    BTW- I think “Dollar Bill” Jefferson got plenty of media exposure, despite his party or race. And stories about the Abramoff and Cunningham scandal have actually died out. When was the last time you read about Tom Delay? There are many corrupt GOP members involved in these or other scandals who are quietly chosing not to run again.

  • kritt11

    APR- Interesting perspective– thanks for the information!

    Usually states like Louisiana are seen as hopelessly corrupt– but we know very little (until recent events exposed the truth) about corruption in Alaska.

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