As reporters and Alaska Democratic Party staffers mingled before U.S. Senate candidate and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams was to appear at his first post-primary press conference, staffers described how they had been fielding calls all morning, quashing rumors that the party is trying to convince ex-Alaska Governor, Tony Knowles to step in for McAdams, who isn't very well known outside of coastal Alaska.
That rumor and the one that claims the Murkowski campaign is considering "doing a Lieberman" seem to have both been started by local GOP pollster, Dave Dittman. Rumors aside, this promises to be a nationally featured race, and if the USA didn't know who Scott McAdams was this morning, one of Scott's replies today has been, "And who knew who Joe Miller was three weeks ago?"
Asked if he plans on stepping aside for Knowles, McAdams, who has quickly turned Sitka into a model progressive community, replied, "We're going to win this one, I'm confident about that."
McAdams' press conference, held in the midtown Anchorage headquarters of the Anchorage Democratic Party, was well attended, both by reporters in the room, and by phone participants from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Fisherman, Fishing News and other outlets.
McAdams, who hasn't slept in about three days, looked fairly refreshed. The list of phone calls he needs to make is getting quite long. Fortunately, some of the people wanting to talk to Scott hope to help raise a lot of money for him from around the national progressive community.
The reporters got a good introduction to Scott's grasp of issues dear to Alaska's hundreds of coastal communities. No matter what one felt about the policies and programs Sen. ted Stevens and Sen. Lisa Murkowski pushed and implemented involving Alaska's fisheries and coastal development, everyone here knew these two senators to be both knowledgeable and powerful.
McAdams, who grew up working at sea from Ketchikan to the Bering Sea, is deeply committed to Alaska's most important sustainable industry. When asked about how he feels regarding the Obama administration's NOAA push for "spatial planning" and "coastal zone management" of fisheries that appears to be privatizing what had been public aspects of offshore fishing, McAdams strongly criticized the administration's new policy. When asked about the mega-gold mine being planned for the headwaters of the streams and rivers that feed the world's greatest Sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay - Pebble Mine - McAdams spoke emotionally and eloquently about how we cannot jeopardize one of the world's few huge, priceless gems of wild creatures.
On the other hand, probable GOP candidate Miller has shown very little grasp or concern about Alaska coastal issues, and people are noticing.
When asked about comparisons between himself and the apparent victor of Alaska's GOP primary, Teabagger Joe Miller, McAdams didn't hold back, describing many of the views Miller holds as antiquated, 19th century thinking.
I'll update this post with links to the stories generated from the press conference. McAdams will be addressing an Alaska Democrats Unity Dinner this evening at Kincaid Park (at the ski chalet - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. - $50.00) in West Anchorage, along Cook Inlet, where a battle is being raged now over the fate of the Inlet's Beluga whale population.
The Unity Dinner will also feature our gubernatorial ticket of Ethan Berkowitz ad Diane Benson. Two years ago tomorrow, those two finished a very long primary campaign against each other for the AK-AL U.S. House seat. Now they are battling together.
Hopefully, Howie Klein will be able to feature Scott in one of the Saturday Blue America on-line sessions - possibly as early as this weekend.
A couple of points need to be stressed about the seeming upset of Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday by a teabagger, endorsed by Sarah Palin:
1) Alaska Ballot Measure Two was put on the primary ballot to bring out Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. It asked voters to overturn an Alaska Supreme Court decision that allowed teens to get abortions without parental consent. That ballot measure drew 131,077 votes. 77,000 voted to overturn the court decision.
Lisa Murkowski is one of the few GOP U.S. Senators who is pro-choice. Joe Miller is vehemently anti-choice. Voters who voted ballot measure 2 knew this.
2) Miller received slightly more than 45,000 votes. I'll bet those who voted for Miller, with few exceptions, also voted to overturn #2. So 22,000 people who voted for #2 also did not vote for Miller. Based on this, I find the meme being promoted by Palin supporters that her support was vital, to be overblown. Even in an election this close. She may have even, through her smarmy endorsement of Miller, driven some supporters away from him.
Patti Epler for the Alaska Dispatch