In the contest for Alaska’s lone House seat, most analysts had left incumbent Republican Don Young for dead. Though Young has served in the House since 1973, bringing in piles of federal money for Alaskan projects, a federal corruption investigation was supposed to spell ballot box doom for the cranky appropriator.
After barely surviving a primary challenge from Sarah Palin’s lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, Young faced a strong Democratic opponent in former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz. But Young ended up winning by a five-point margin – confounding polls that showed him trailing consistently and thus escaping the fate of Sen. Ted Stevens, another veteran Alaska Republican under an ethics cloud who met with defeat.
This is the second general campaign in a row where Ethan Berkowitz outspent his opponent and then lost. Neither Ethan, Diane Benson nor 2008 Democratic Party early primary candidate Jake Metcalfe have been very explicit about 2010. Ethan has come closest to announcing he is still in the race.
And there are other capable Democrats out there. After Benson, who I would support but feel might do far more good working in the Obama administration in the Department of Veterans Affairs, or in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, I'd like to see Alaska Rep. Sharon Cissna in the race. She's as smart as Ethan, and is as knowledgeable about health care as Berkowitz is on renewable energy.
Hollis French, Les Gara and Bill Wielechowski are often mentioned as possible contenders.
Who do you prefer? Progressive Alaska is posting a new poll on this. Possible candidates are listed alphabetically.
Update - Saturday 11:00 p.m: Gryphen has posted a scathing post-2008 goodbye letter to Ethan:
When election night ended on November 4th, I was not satisfied. I was ecstatic that Obama had won, but I was upset that Begich was trailing Stevens. This did not feel right, and so I blogged about it, and so did Shannyn Moore. And with the media paying close attention Begich emerged the victor!But I was not yet done. I still felt that Ethan should have won! So I talked to every political rabble rouser I could think of here in town, and I called experts on stealing elections all over the country. We had them ready to fly up here and delve into the mystery of Alaska's voter turnout, the strange inconsistencies in the returns, and the question of how the vote could have split to elect one ethically challenged politician while rebuffing the other.I had friends ready to make placards, political bloggers warming up their typing hands, and citizens volunteering to provide money. We were, if I may, "fired up and ready to go".And then Ethan just gave up.He conceded.I wrote to his campaign asking them to reconsider. No answer.I would have fought for Ethan Berkowitz. I would still be fighting for Ethan Berkowitz if he had decided to contest the election results. There is simply no "quit" in me. But with no candidate, there is no fight.And do you know what? We would have won. I just know it. I can't prove it. But I just know it.So now I am over Ethan Berkowitz. He let me down.....
You can read the rest at Immoral Minority.
I will say this much. Somebody commented here back in early October, asking what Diane Benson and her supporters had done for Ethan since the August 26th primary.
My response was, "Everything we've been asked to do, and more."
Update 2 - Sunday 2:30 p.m: I got an email from a friend saying the poll doesn't show up on Firefox and Windows Vista. Anyone else have the same problem?
image - Dennis Zaki