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Anchorage mayor Mark Begich will announce he's taking on Ted "Tubes" Stevens for his state's U.S. Senate seat at 11:30 a.m. PT.

I polled this race back in early December:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 12/3-6. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Mark Begich, the Democrat, and Ted Stevens, the Republican?

Stevens (R) 41
Begich (D) 47

Even more surprisingly, instead of spinning these results away, Stevens' pollster actually confirmed the results not once, but twice.

Local pollsters are not surprised by the numbers. Dave Dittman, who's firm Dittman Research is polling for Stevens, said the publicity on corruption investigations is hurting the Republicans.

"It's interesting and it's early but I wasn't shocked," Dittman said. "Both Congressman Young and Sen. Stevens have been under attack (or) at least the subject of a lot of negative information and news stories and things for almost two years. I would think it's got to have an effect."


"He's more vulnerable than he has been before," conceded Anchorage pollster and political consultant Dave Dittman, who is working for the Stevens campaign.

This is immediately a top-tier Senate race.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:34 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wasn't aware that (15+ / 0-)

    Alaska had a mayor?


    We...join arm in arm and decide we are going to remake this country block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state - that's what hope is

    by DemocraticOz on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:35:47 AM PST

  •  Good (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Maven, Geotpf, because, mcfly, mystic, Neon Mama

    I wanted this one to happen.  Alaska deserves better than Stevens and Don Young.

    •  Awesome News! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, because, mystic, Neon Mama

      Forcing Republicans to put money into what were once "safe districts"  will help us tremendously all across the nation, most importantly in swing districts.

      The 50 State strategy at work!

      •  But, alas... (0+ / 0-) gets me dreaming of a day when we are free of the ravages of Blue Dogs and Lieberscum...

        I want my Two Dollars!

        by Ken in MN on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:18:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is more than just "making them spend money" (0+ / 0-)

        That's what we do when we run the best person we can find against an incumbent Republican who "everyone knows" can't lose, who is considered a safe hold in all the race trackers. The ones where the closest thing to a win is pinning Joe Gooper down in the district and losing by 3 points less than the blowout from last time.  And those are still worthwhile as part of a long term red to purple to blue 435 district strategy.

        Begich-Stevens is one where we can realistically take the seat outright.

        "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

        by AdmiralNaismith on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:35:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The only downside is that now (0+ / 0-)

      I have to come up with the substantial (for me) dough I promised if he ran. Give me a little time, Mark. :-)

      There are 10 types of people in the world--those who know binary and those who don't.

      by DoLooper on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:08:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Alaska does deserve better. (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, this move ensures that will not happen.

      This site is dedicated to electing Dems, and then electing more and better Dems.  For that reason, I will not say anything disparaging the little weasel (oops, strike that last comment).

      I will say, however, that I will not vote for him, I will not support him, I will not urge my friends to support or vote for him.  

      You were right.  We deserve better.

      Go Harry! Take Nancy with you!

      by Endangered Alaskan Dem on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:22:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As long as you don't support Stevens (0+ / 0-)

        You know, Alaska has had several races where the Greens and other left-alternative parties have had more votes than the margin that went to the Republican.

        Seems to me if those voters made themselves available as Democrats, they could push a Democrat they backed farther to the left without the poor Dem worrying that he'd lose in the next election cycle.

        One part of getting better Democrats is having the backs of the existing Democrats so that they have cover for doing the right thing.

        This is Alaska. Not known for even letting the "fewer and worse Democrats" get their feet in the door. I know nothing about Begich's politics, but I'm pretty sure they're an improvement on Stevens in many areas. Gift horses and mouths and all that. Just sayin'.

        "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

        by AdmiralNaismith on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:42:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stevens would get re-elected easily, (9+ / 0-)

    if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

    My position is clear -- I'm the commander guy.

    by Mr Met on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:36:59 AM PST

  •  one seat closer to filibuster proof (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, Deadicated Marxist, Jimdotz

    very, very good news

    "You may be on the right track, but if you sit still, you'll get run over" Will Rogers

    by gaspare on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:37:52 AM PST

  •  Beat Me To This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf, Miss Blue

    by just a few moments (I took the time to tell my officemate about the race).

    Does anybody know whether the other Democrat already in the race, former state Rep. Ray Metcalfe, is committed to staying in the primary?  I get the sense that since Begich is already well enough known throughout the state, a four-month primary battle may not be in our best interests here.

    Can you smell the Constitution burning?

    by The Maven on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:38:03 AM PST

    •  He likely will stay in. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ray, you may know,  has been relentless in weeding out the corruption in Alaska politics. He's the one who did all the investigating of the land deals and Veco ties and took the evidence to the FBI (after all state options were blocked).

      Last fall, Ray presented evidence that Mark also was getting involved in shady land deals with the same developer Stevens has made money from in the past.

      I don't think Ray is going to just roll over and let Mark have a pass on this one... Ray has an excellent record so far -- his investigation has led the FBI to get several convictions and pleas, with several more cases pending.

      Mark's likable, and likely electable, but Ray is not a party loyalist. If he has reason to believe Mark has been walking the crooked mile, he's going to stay in it and do what he can to keep all crooks out -- D, R, or I.

  •  It's way past time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    because, R Rhino from CT4, WSComn

    for Stevens and Young both to go. Of course, it hasn't happened yet, but I'm glad we've got a race. The people of Alaska may have had enough.

  •  Alaska kossacks! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    because, mystic, Neon Mama

    I have family outside Anchorage who I will be pushing to vote for Mayor Bergich. I will emphasize how important it is that we have a Senator from Alaska who support people powered LGBT marital rights. I also have some contacts in the villages and will stress that issue to them as well. There is a strong military presence in Alaska, and I bet they would love a visit from our leader Mr. Kos who will show them that people powered LGBT marital rights fighters are tough but tender, broad shouldered and bug eyed in their enthusiasm for fundamental emanating LGBT rights.

    •  That's not the issue to bring up at all (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      because, dufffbeer, kevinspa, Kuparuk

      First, people here are practical and down-to-Earth.  Alaska's not the kind of place where you hear a lot of politically correct euphemisms like "LGBT marital rights."  If you want to say something, say it; don't make up a new word for it just because it's unpopular under the old name.

      Second, most Alaskans are apathetic at best about gay marriage, myself included.  I'm completely fine with the idea, but it's very low on my list of priorities.

      Third, a U.S. Senate election is not the place to push an issue that's likely to move forward on a state level if, when, and where it does.

      Fourth, pointlessly making gay marriage a centerpiece of Begich's campaign would probably hand that seat back to Ted Stevens on a silver platter for 6 more years.

      My sense is that a Democrat here should run strong on the environment (from a sportsmens' rights perspective) and ethics reform.  Also, all politics is local, and that's especially true out here thousands of miles from the other states.  Alaska-specific issues will be important.  I think it would be smart to put the contentious Pebble Mine front-and-center.  I'm guessing both candidates will oppose the mine because there are so many Alaskans and Alaskan special interests unanimously opposed to it, but a Democrat will be in a more credible position to take a strong stance against irresponsible resource exploitation.

      "If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed." -Rush Limbaugh
      "Always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama." -Olbermann

      by Troutnut on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:15:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't consdier it "politically correct" (0+ / 0-)

        to refer to LGBT fundamental people powered rights as just that. As progressive kossacks, that is what we are referring to when we demand and champion people power. We will definitely end the War in Iraq immediately with President Obama, but our people powered struggle for LGBT marital rights and building an insurmountable wall of separation between church and state is a constant struggle that we embrace and what embodies us as people powered progressives.

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Um.  Gay marriage is an issue that's very important to me, and while I am unaware of Begich's position on it, I do hope that he is for it or at least unwilling to vote for some sort of amendment banning it and willing to say so outspokenly (not that I'm as worried about banning-amendments with dem congress now).

      But this is a statewide election in...Alaska.  So I can't help asking: is this comment snark?

      Seriously this must be the last issue I would expect a senate campaign up here to deal with.

      •  One strong similarity b/w Obama & Clinton (0+ / 0-)

        Is both would prioritize Supreme Court nominees who will FINALLY find the fundamental right emanating from our Constitution for members of the LGBT community to marry and no bogus state referendum or state constitution will matter. That is why it is vital that once this nomination is made, we have strong LGBT supporters like Sen. Begich, Sen. Mark Warner, and Sen. Scott Kleeb who will fight back the inevitable Rethug fillibuster.

        So, when you say it is up to the states, that simply can not be true. Because of rigged votes, we are constantly losing at the state level in referendums. Granted, there are some state Supreme Courts who understand this people powered right emanates from the State Constitutions, but now the Rethugs are trying to amend state constitutions. That is why it is vital that we as people powered progressives elect people like Mayor Begich who will vote to seat strong people powered SCOTUS judges who will finally give us what we demand as kossacks, that is people powered fundamental LGBT marital rights.

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          Like I said, I am unaware of Begich's position on Gay marriage.  If he is outspokenly in favor of it...I'll be even happier to vote for him.  Just want to clarify that before saying:

          I'm totally confused here, this seems almost like the blog-comment version of a robo-call.

          •  I'm not 100% positive on this. (0+ / 0-)

            But from what I understand Mayor Begich is personally opposed to people powered LGBT marital rights, but would not vote to force his personal opinion on the issue. Therefore, in order to not force his personal views, he would vote to support fundamental LGBT rights. I know I prefer candidates who support people powered LGBT rights both personally and legislatively, but as with many of our people powered candidates, as long as they oppose but do not force their views through their votes, and therefore vote in favor of people powered LGBT rights, I can live with that.

  •  Wiki link (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    because, mcfly, goshzilla

    Mark Begich (born 1962) is an American Democratic Party politician and the current mayor of Anchorage, Alaska.

    He was born in Anchorage at the Old Providence Hospital, and is the first person born in Anchorage to be elected as the city's mayor.

    We will fight. We will win. This machine kills fascists.

    by Elvis meets Nixon on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:41:26 AM PST

  •  Don't think that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, Miss Blue, R Rhino from CT4

    Miss Wasilla err Gov. Palin is going to tarnish her reformist image either working too hard for either Young or Stevens.  

    OH-16: John Boccieri will finally end 36 years of Regula Rule.

    by marcvstraianvs on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:41:30 AM PST

  •  would this be someone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, crazyshirley2100

    that would tie the tubes?

    Republicans are not a national party anymore.

    by jalapeno on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:41:59 AM PST

  •  to rehash (0+ / 0-)

    My comment on your Texas post just a bit ago.
    Things just keep looking better and better!

  •  Hey maybe Stevens can Borrow some of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mitch McConnell's Boulders

    "I’m a bigger target, but I’m a pretty big boy," McConnell said. "And I’ll tell you this, as I’ve said before, they throw a pebble at me, I’m going to throw a boulder back."

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:43:16 AM PST

  •  Will be first Dems elected to Congress from AK (6+ / 0-)

    since my main man Mike Gravel (ah! an excuse to post Power to the People vs. Give Peace a Chance)

    •  He's still in it to win it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      "From the other candidates you hear a lot of fluff, a lot of tiddlywinks. They don’t take names and kick butt," Gravel said in his speech, which was delivered without notes. "Here comes a politician running a campaign for president saying he is going to heal the country — we’re going to have blue skies and everyone is going to hold hands. That is unadulterated bullshit."

      Sounds like Senator Clinton has been plagiarizing.

  •  Tubes' Reelection bid clogged (0+ / 0-)

    Go Begich!

    I support Barack Obama because I believe in a Democratic Party that will fight any Republican, anywhere in the country.

    by Skulnick on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:46:15 AM PST

  •  Could this be the end (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, Neon Mama, WSComn

    of The Incredible Sulk?!?

  •  The new magic number is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    someone else, WSComn

    61! (60+liarman)

    It's the SUPREME COURT, Stupid!

    by ultrageek on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:48:40 AM PST

  •  But but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    R Rhino from CT4, WSComn

    according to The Inevitable One, Alaska is a red state and doesn't matter!

    Cheers to the 50 state strategy :)

    secondpagemedia: A louder drop in the bucket. Could you find it in your heart to blogroll me? I'd do the same for you.

    by aerojad on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:49:14 AM PST

  •  Having Obama at the top of the ticket (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    because, Skaje, hilltopper, mystic

    couldn't hurt. Drive up Dem turnout...maybe host a fundraiser in Anchorage, hold an event in Juneau.

  •  Wow, thats great, Alkaska wasnt even on my radar (0+ / 0-)

    for senate races!

  •  Is Stevens gonna run? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, R Rhino from CT4

    I've heard folks up there aren't sure. The guy's like 90. If he doesn't, Begich's chances go way down. I've also heard that other internal numbers aren't quite as good. This will be a 2-3 point barn-burner and is going to need us all to pay attention. Forget about the real longshots until there's some proof of being competitive. Races like this one are the ones we need to push (and fund!!!).

  •  This is really good news for Alaska (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glitterscale, hilltopper

    there is blood in the water and the Republicans are about to take it in the shorts.  The only way they keep this seat is if Gov. Palin resigns and decides to run.  Politics just got very fun in Alaska.

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I couldn't imagine Palin resigning the governorship to run for the Senate at this point.  She has a lot she wants to do, and if she is interested in a Senate seat I think she needs to hold the office down longer to make a case for herself.

      •  I don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

        I just think she would be the only Republican that would stand a chance against Begich if Stevens resigns.

        •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I've only been in Alaska for about a year, and I live in Southeast, so I've actually learned everything I know about Begich right here on dkos.  But I'm excited for the election; politics up here is completely different, on a state level, than anything I've experienced elsewhere, and this will be the first statewide election I get to see unfold.  I'm sure it will be an interesting race.  

          I've been continually amazed at the local and state politics here.  So many major issues are brought to the forefront just by living in Alaska.  My local city assembly politics represent a solid engagement with issues that don't even exist in most places in the midwest(where I'm from), and hardly have any discussion, at least not at a serious level, in national politics.  Alaskans are extremely conversant on the themes of environment, development, economy (largely issues of managing oil revenue), diversity, education, infrastructure, just to name a few; largely because, if some decision is made in town, not only is it debated at length in the pages of the local paper and in town meetings, once a given project or ballot issue is enacted in such small communities as we have up here, its effects and consequences are immediately visible in your vicinity.  Not to say that everything happening up here is to my liking, but I do like the atmosphere of the politics, the fact that so many take part, and how pell-mell a local assembly can be.  

          On any given issue, if I turn on the radio for the live broadcast of the assembly meeting, I can often here the testimony of a fisherman, a businessman, representatives of NOAA and/or the forest service, an oil company, a cruise line, some crazy lady who just reads passages from the bible that are mysteriously inapplicable, one of my neighbors, etc.  It's great fun.  

          So, I guess I'm saying, I can't wait for a statewide, national election!  (Although I do think it will be toned down quite a bit from what goes on locally).

      •  I have read that Palin (0+ / 0-)

        has young children and prefers to raise them in Alaska.

        A Republican is a person who says we need to rebuild Iraq but not New Orleans. - Temple Stark

        by Christopher Walker on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:32:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This will be one of the hottest races in the country.

    And a damn good pickup opportunity in a red state.

    Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

    by Arjun Jaikumar on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:02:27 AM PST

  •  Always the victim frame (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dave Dittman, who's firm Dittman Research is polling for Stevens, said the publicity on corruption investigations is hurting the Republicans.

    "It's interesting and it's early but I wasn't shocked," Dittman said. "Both Congressman Young and Sen. Stevens have been under attack (or) at least the subject of a lot of negative information and news stories and things for almost two years.

    Nope, it's not the corruption that's the problem, it's the exposure of it. Riiiiiight...

    Go, Begich!

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchett

    by cherryXXX69 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:02:36 AM PST

  •  So whats a good number to expect in 08? (0+ / 0-)

    55-45? Could it be higher for dems, like 58-42?

  •  Need campaign slogan -- play off on quote? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    R Rhino from CT4

    multi frigens, pauci rigens.  ( "Many are cold, few are frozen")

    Alaska --- Finally cold enough to turn BLUE.
    Think this is cold?  Watch Stevens exit!
    Build a bridge to Alaska's future.

    What can I say? I once memorized "The cremation of Sam McGhee" for oral recitation in English class. I was shy and have weird sense of humor.  By concentrating on the HUMOR --- I managed not to  freeze up and forget lines due to being stared at.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:04:36 AM PST

  •  f-ing jerk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    God, I'd love to see him lose.

    "I'm a war President" - GWB

    by Deadicated Marxist on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:07:59 AM PST

  •  Markos Might Want to Come to Anchorage... (4+ / 0-)

    and take Ray Metcalfe's Anchorage Real Estate Shenanigans tour before he puts complete stock in Mark Begich.  Begich and former state representative Ethan Berkowitz are kos's "annointed ones" here.  Berkowitz is clean, but Ray Metcalfe has growing evidence that there's a serious possibility Begich might get swept up in the FBI corruption probe, should that probe turn toward seriously scrutinizing corrupt real estate deals, some of which tie Begich to Ted Stevens.

    I invite Markos to get hold of Ray Metcalfe, fly up here and take Ray's tour.  Lunch and dinner are on me.

    Meanwhile, the Anchorage Assembly is about to go bananas, and possibly involve the FBI in a criminal probe, already begun yesterday by the Alaska Public Offices Commission, a toothless organization.  But the FBI is watching this...

    •  BRAVO! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...and not for your music, but for your point.

      Even though Ethan deserves to be our anointed one, you're right, Phil. Kos is leaving out all the possibilities of an Alaskan election -- most notably in Ray's case.

      I find it hilarious that there was so much ranting about the DSCC just a few months ago, and then Kos rolls over and promotes only the DSCC's chosen child, completely ignoring the man who did all the work to put Ted on the run in the first place.


      (yes, the same Kuparuk who spars with you on TPM. See my blog here. Funny we're both composers, eh?)

  •  Won't "tubes" retire ? eom (0+ / 0-)

    Oprah? Nah, I'm voting however Jerry Springer tells me to.

    by Barry in MIA on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:19:46 AM PST

  •  I'm interested in who will replace the senator (0+ / 0-)

    that wins the general election.

    I have heard Madigan might be pulled out of Illinois to be corrupted in DC if there is a President Obama. (Although a Senator Winfrey would be cool.)

  •  Financing Question (0+ / 0-)

    The Obama campaign has got some serious money in the bank.  How much does it take to maintain a competitive campaign?  I guess what I am asking is when does it become wise to begin pouring our donations to the other races, or would it ever be wise.  

    I do not pretend to know enough about this to provide the answer, so I ask you, fellow Kossacks.  Knowing what we need to upend people like Stevens, how do we make a good decision with what little money we may have to donate?  I know I do not need to bother going on about Stevens and his ruinous porking of the tax dollar, etc. to remind anyone of the importance of removing him from the Senate.

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -=-H. L. Mencken

    by crazyshirley2100 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:24:00 AM PST

  •  Fantastic News (0+ / 0-)

    Not unexpected though.

    Still, I never believed I would see a real chance for the democrats to take a senate seat in Alaska again in my lifetime.  This race is exciting!  


  •  "Down the tubes" with Ted! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What an excellent adventure this is going to be.

    Why am I here? I want to destroy the Republican Party. Forever. How about you? /eom

    by shpilk on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:32:01 AM PST

  •  The thought of Ted trying to campaign (0+ / 0-)

    After all these years, I think he has long since forgotten what it's about.  You just tell people what to do, and they are supposed to do it.  Sort of like Rumsfeld with a speech impediment.  

    How many wrongs does it take to make a right?

    by pdknz on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:12:55 AM PST

  •  Dems smash! (0+ / 0-)

    Let's get the Incredible Skulk out of the Senate!

    Pragmatic progressivism is the future.

    by Pragmaticus on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:15:48 AM PST

  •  "Tubes" - my pet peeve (0+ / 0-)

    Everyone loves to slam Stevens because he used a "tubes" metaphor to describe the Internet. But the standard metaphor for the Internet is "pipes"! What the f*** is the difference?

    There are plenty of substantive things to criticize Stevens for. The "tubes" comment was not one of them!!

    Eli Stephens
    Left I on the News

    Waiting for the deadlocked Democratic convention to turn to...Kucinich!

    by elishastephens on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:44:15 AM PST

  •  Wait (0+ / 0-)

    You can commission polls now?  How expensive are they?

    Right on, Dr. Dean.

    by Mikey on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:14:55 PM PST

  •  Link to Begich website is here (0+ / 0-)

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