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Can Obama break the Democrats' 44-year dry spell in Alaska?

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:02 PM
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Can Obama break the Democrats' 44-year dry spell in Alaska?
Claiming the Last Frontier by Charles Wohlforth
Can Obama break the Democrats' 44-year dry spell in Alaska? According to our long-suffering author, the chances are better than they've ever been.
Post Date Wednesday, July 23, 2008



Vic Fischer's history as a Democrat in Alaska reaches back to before Alaskans could vote for president, when he was a delegate to the state's Constitutional Convention in 1955 and 1956. It's been a hard slog since then. In 1964, Alaska went for Lyndon Johnson, who won all but six states. That's it in 49 years of statehood.

But on July 8th, Fischer attended the opening of Barack Obama's office in Anchorage, the first such Democratic presidential campaign office anyone can remember, where he found himself surrounded by some 400 people, more than could fit in the building. An Alaska Public Radio Network reporter asked Fischer for his reaction, and for a moment he stammered, uncharacteristically inarticulate, until he simply said, "It's a miracle."

As a lifelong Alaskan Democrat myself and veteran of countless lost causes dating back to fourth grade, when I was the only child in my class to support McGovern over Nixon, I knew how he felt. We've seen victories in local and state politics--I myself served two terms representing Anchorage's most liberal district on the Municipal Assembly--but we never, ever hoped to win Alaska's electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate.

We're so used to losing at the top of the ticket that we think about the presidential nominee mainly in the context of how Republicans can use him to shoot down our state candidates--as they did to torpedo former Governor Tony Knowles's run for the U.S. Senate in 2004, with an ad that showed his head floating next to John Kerry's. As Knowles said, "Hanging the national Democratic label on somebody was worth 4 or 5 points right there."

So, how could it be that a Democratic presidential candidate was opening field offices all over our state, hiring a staff similar in size to the largest in-state campaigns, and going on the air with TV commercials in June? Obama's even thinking about visiting up here. No major party presidential nominee has come to Alaska since, er, Nixon in 1960.

more...

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=5a43f2f1-0c94...
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ronnykmarshall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:04 PM
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1. He might.
It looks like we might pick up the Senate seat there as well.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:04 PM
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2. Obama should visit Alaska.
It would be a big news story which shows he's willing to explore relatively new things.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:15 PM
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7. Don't discount that possibility; he just might surprise Alaskans. nt
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:25 PM
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11. I agree and it would almost guarantee that McCain would have to follow him
there to keep the state and it would make him ridiculous.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:05 PM
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3. Yes, he can.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:07 PM
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4. This is an excellent article.
Alaska's politics is also being discussed here.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:08 PM
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5. The numbers are not there
More than 60% of the voters in Alaska chose Bush in 2004. Obama can't make up that deficit.

There's a lot of enthusiasm, but the numbers don't bring Obama over the top.

The Democrats in Alaska should be concentrating on getting Stevens out of office. That would be a major development. So far Begich is leading Stevens.


My sister was one of the 400 on July 8th at the opening of the office. So was my niece.

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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:28 PM
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8. McCain currently leads Obama by only single digits here,
but I agree that Obama may not be able to pull it off in Alaska. The Democrats have a much better chance of winning the Senate and House seats. The political climate has changed quite a bit here since 2006. Since then both Ted Stevens and Don Young have come under federal investigation, three state Republican lawmakers have been tried, convicted and are currently doing time in the federal penetentiary for bribery, two more are awaiting trial, and several more are under investigation. The Republican party "brand" has lost some of its luster.

One thing working in Obama's favor is that John McCain is very unpopular here. He came in dead last in the Republican "presidential preference poll" in February, acquiring fewer votes than even Ron Paul. If Bob Barr runs up here, he may siphon some votes, too.
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:38 PM
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9. I'd like to think Obama can pull it off too
I've been talking to friends in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok, Seward... oh hell, all over the state (I lived there for close to two decades) and they are hopeful but realistic.

Stevens is wounded, but that's when he comes out the strongest. Begich still has a long way to go, but I think he will pull it off.

One thing I've learned about Alaska's Repugs, when the chips are down they will circle the wagons and vote for their candidate.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. About the Republicans circling the wagons,
this is true, but they have dissension in their ranks, as well -- we have the Palin Republicans, the more populist, reformer types, who put Governor Sarah in place; and then there's the Old Guard, the "corrupt bastards," who will without a doubt circle the Stevens/Young wagons. Stevens will undoubtedly be the Republican nominee for Senate, but Don Young will struggle to get past his primary opponents, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and state representative Gabrielle LeDoux. It's shaping up to be a very interesting election here, both the primaries and the general.

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:15 PM
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6. No. But he should try his best. Make them defend Grandpa Simpson in every state. nt
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