Come Tuesday, we may see former Alaska State House Minority Leader, Ethan Berkwitz, holding up another sign - Berkowitz for Alaska Governor.
That will turn the Democratic Party side of the August 24th, 2010 primary into at least a 4-way race: Ethan Berkowitz, State Sen. Hollis French, Bob Poe and Rob Rosenfeld.
Of the four actual or very potential candidates on the Democratic Party side, the only one campaigning openly and full-time so far, has been Bob Poe. Poe has been making appearances at Democratic Party functions, at regional fairs and events, such as the Mount Marathon run in Seward. He's been on talk radio, and The Anchorage Press' Brendan Joel Kelley wrote a thorough profile of Poe back in late April.
Sen. French has been preoccupied this summer with his mother's illness, and stated back on July 1st, that his filing of intent-to-run papers was "just simply a preliminary step towards making a final decision but also keeping the dialogue going ... continuing the conversation I've been having with a lot of people about what sort of governor they want to have in the next election."
French has also stated that he will make a final determination "sooner, rather than later." We've invited him out to the Mat-Su Democrats' Egan Dinner, probably for September.
Rob Rosenfeld, who works as the International Policy and Development Advisor for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, has been quite busy this spring and summer, as the complex 2009 Yukon River issues - the flooding, the poor salmon returns, Canadian concerns on the fishery meeting international treaty requirements, and so on, played out. He may have more time to actively campaign once the river freezes for the winter.
The only one of these four with extensive experience campaigning for statewide office is Ethan Berkowitz. And Ethan's longstanding ties with the Alaska Democrats present him an edge over the other three candidates, that will give him a distinct advantage in such a crowded race.
The combination of the late date for the primary - giving only 10 weeks for the post-primary campaign - and the ability shown in 2008 by Alaska's GOP to register new voters all the way into late October, gives whomever of these candidates wins the primary, a tough battle to defeat the most likely opponent, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell.
image - Ethan Berkowitz by AK Muckraker