Tag Archives: Mark Begich

Begich declared winner over Stevens in Alaska

Ted Stevens turned 85 and has been convicted of 7 felony counts.  He’s spent 100 years in the U.S. Senate.  (not quite, but it does feel that way)

Somehow Alaska is almost finished counting ballots and the race is nearly out of hand.    (it only took 2 weeks)

The margin looks like it is too great so if a recount is requested by Stevens, he would have to pay for it himself.  (or maybe VECO will pay.)

 

Will Stevens concede the election?

Will he congratulate Mark Begich?

Will he relinquish his Senate office?

Will he go quietly off to jail (if Bush doesn’t pardon him)?

 

Congratulations Mark Begich.  Welcome to Washington.

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Political thoughts for the Day

Why would anyone think that John McCain would have any interest in working with Obama?  Speculation in the media is that he is once again becoming the maverick that lost his way during the general election cycle.  Really?  The man is endorsing Saxby Chambliss.  McCain said the ad run by Chambliss attacking Senator Max Cleland in 2002 – it’s worse than disgraceful – it’s reprehensible.”

The U.S. Senate Democrats have had no ‘stones’ whatsoever for 8 years.  They can verbally chastise Joe Lieberman all they want but the vote that will take place today is a closed ballot vote.  In other words, they can be tough in public and weak at the time of vote just like the last 8 years.  I suspect that Lieberman will receive nothing more than the verbal attacks he has already faced.  He will be permitted to keep his Democratic leadership with one caveat:  stay loyal to the party.  The problem here is that Joe only knows ‘whatever’s best for Joe.’ 

How is it possible that Alaska still has 24,000 uncounted ballots from the election 2 weeks ago?  Seriously, is one person counting the ballots?  I wonder if it is the same guy that examined the hanging chads in Florida in 2000.  I know all eyes are on the Begich – Stevens race, which Begich is building up a nice lead, but I am trying to figure out how Don Young is leading Ethan Berkowitz when Young trailed big on the final day of polls and Young is currently under FBI investigation. 

I thought I recently heard that Sarah Palin could not capitalize financially while holding elected office in Alaska.  I recall hearing that when it was rumored that she could land a talk show after the election.  I have yet to find anything in Alaskan law that stipulated that.  But if it is true, how is it she can sign this huge book deal?  I guess it is with a ‘wink’ and a nod.  Hmmmm. 

Alaska at the polls – The numbers don’t add up

It’s strange writing about the political scene in Alaska without the subject being about Sarah Palin.

At first I thought the foul smell coming from the 49th state was a rotting moose carcass shot from a helicopter or maybe the First Dude spent too much time in the tanning bed.

Alaskan politics and corruption are obviously synonymous. But something is seriously wrong with their election.

Incentive to Vote

Alaskan voters had more reason to vote in this election than in recent memory.

Republican Congressman Don Young recently celebrated 35 years in office. This election cycle was to be more difficult for Young as he is under federal investigation for corruption involving VECO Corporation. His challenger was former state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz who led in every poll before Election Day.

Republican Senator Ted Stevens or should I say Convicted felon Ted Stevens also trailed in the polls to Democratic Mayor of Anchorage Mark Begich. Stevens has been in office 40 years. For those of you living under a slain caribou the last 10 days, Ted Stevens was convicted on all 7 felony charges of giving false statements regarding the investigation involving – you guessed it – VECO Corporation. {An aside: I am sure Stevens will be pardoned by Bush before he leaves office on January 20th.}

If that wasn’t enough to motivate you to vote, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was atop the ticket as the running mate for GOP Presidential candidate John McCain. Polling had McCain – Palin leading by a wide margin over Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

 

By the Numbers

Registration was up in Alaska as it was throughout the entire United States. There were 30 thousand new registered voters since 2006 with this number somewhat split between Republicans and Democrats. There are 50 thousand more registered Republicans than Democrats which would – with all things being normal – have meant a cakewalk for the Republicans at the voting booth.

Alaskans Registered by Party:

RECOGNIZED POLITICAL PARTIES


STATEWIDE
TOTALS

TOTAL

Alaskan

Independence

Party

Democratic

Party

Libertarian

Party

Republican

Party

Nov 4, 2008

496,828

13,828

77,036

6,926

127,446

Nov 6, 2006

466,887

13,412

66,636

8,787

115,397

Nov 5, 2004

473,927

15,581

71,506

7,258

118,008

 

POLITICAL GROUPS


STATEWIDE
TOTALS

TOTAL

No

Party

Affiliation

Undeclared

Green

Party

Republican

Moderate

Veterans

Party

Nov 4, 2008

496,828

77,582

185,320

2,926

3,842

1,922

Nov 6, 2006

466,887

73,081

177,686

3,620

4,752

2,026

Nov 5, 2004

473,927

70,615

179,374

4,470

4,459

But all things aren’t normal this year. All 3 statewide Republican candidates were mired in scandal (Palin is still linked to Troopergate) and the polls support the uphill battles faced by both Young and Stevens. You would figure that at least one of the 2 would have been defeated.

Based on the current results, 305,281 Alaskans voted (early voting, absentee ballots or on Election Day). This is over 8,000 lower than the number in 2004. Add to this, there are 23,000 additional registered voters.

McCain – Palin actually received about 50,000 FEWER votes than the 2004 Bush – Cheney ticket.

This is the second LOWEST turnout for a general election in Alaska behind the 1996 Bill Clinton / Bob Dole race. The other 49 states achieved higher turnouts. How is this possible?

So with 4,000 more early voters this year (a 30% increase) and longer lines at the polls on Election Day, one must wonder how turnout actually DROPPED.

What Could Have Happened?

Did some Democrats stay home on Election Day as the results started filing in hours before the polls closed in Alaska? Not likely since early voting was up this year. In fact, 30% higher than in 2004.

Could voters have decided that with the corruption hanging over their 3 main political figures it was better to stay home to demonstrate their outrage? Actually, apathy would keep the voters home. Anger drives them to the polls to vote for the opponent.

Could the Republican voters have actually remained in support of Stevens and Young and were angry at the witch hunt (Palin pun kind of intended) against the 2 long serving Congressmen?

“Given that interest in this election could not, under any circumstances, have ever been greater this year than it was in other years, it’s almost inconceivable to imagine that the number of votes cast would drop” from 2004.  “It smells to me like you had a really, really, really weird turnout where all the Palin mothers and all the Ted Stevens supporters came flooding en masse out of the woodwork to make a point, and the Dems somehow sat on their hands and enjoyed the presidential news as it filtered up from the Lower 48 through the day,” David Dittman, Alaska pollster said.

Dittman predicted as the polls closed that Begich would beat Stevens by 8 points while Berkowitz would beat Young by 7. Instead, both Begich and Berkowitz trail the incumbents nearly a week later. And Young’s lead over Berkowitz is quite large.

How could he have been so wrong? Dittman has been forecasting Alaskan elections for 38 years!

Afterward, you look at it and say, ‘Holy cow! How could I have seen this coming?” said Dittman.

“I thought it was a mistake on the screen. I was totally surprised. I thought the state had made a mistake and had the candidates reversed,” he said.

We’ve seen strange results in elections for a number of years starting with Florida in 2000. Saxby Chambliss beat incumbent Max Cleland 6 years ago with questionable results. And the John Kerry loss in 2004 is a strange one as well.

And if you weren’t totally convinced that something was afoul, Alaska ballots are counted by Diebold.

Palin has gone back to her governor’s office with whatever Neiman Marcus clothes she could hide – as long as it wasn’t the Michael Jackson Thriller jacket – but the nation will be watching what comes out of the Stevens and Young races.

For more information on the races in Alaska visit:

Shannyn Moore – an Alaskan blogger

Brad Friedman at BradBlog