So How Did the Alaskan Independence Party Do?

14 11 2008

OK, the official numbers are not in yet in Alaska, but we can feel fairly confident that no candidate from the Alaskan Independence Party is going to win a seat this year.  But how did they fare?  They certainly got a lot more press than usual this year…especially from outside of Alaska.

The AIP Presidential candidate vote total went from .67% in 2004 to .52% in 2008.  No real change.

But, the AIP Senatorial candidate went from 1.22% in 2004 to 4.14% in 2008.  Almost a threefold increase!  Did the AIP become all the rage because of the trendy secessionist tendencies of Todd Palin, Alaska’s First Dude and “former” AIPer?  Did AIP Senate candidate Bob Bird, just ride the Palin’s coattails?

Or maybe the increase is due to those Republicans that couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a convicted felon, but also couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a Democrat?

Or maybe it’s because Ron Paul (who fared better than John McCain in the primary up here) endorsed Bob Bird, the AIP’s Senate candidate.  Those Ron Paul fans are pretty loyal, and so this is a definite possibility. 

It’s interesting to note that the increase in AIP votes from 2004 to 2008 would more than make up the difference between the now trailing Ted Stevens, and his Democratic rival for the senate seat, Mark Begich. I suppose in a metaphorical way, you could say that Ron Paul may have given Ted Stevens the “Bird”.

The only other AIP candidate on the ticket this year was Dan DeNardo running in House District 31.  You may remember him from a little bedtime story on Mudflats last month.  Just a quick reminder if you don’t want to go back and read the whole thing…

Here’s his bio:

“I study the creation and impact of the Luciferian Marxist-Lenninist Dialectical Sovietism that is the most encompassing secular historical force controlling every incorporated political party; the world’s exchange systems based on perpetual indentured slavery through interest bearing irredeemable security obligations, i.e. federal reserve notes; Law Merchant advisory panels masquerading as “juries”; bar associations composed strictly of card-carrying Kommunist Komrade Kriminals acting in Alaska under the Alaska Supreme Soviet in conjunction with Soviet counterparts in NKVD through the Khabarovsk-Alaska Collectivization Project; and state sponsored Kriminal Globalism’s “perpetual War for perpetual peace.”

And this guy got 3%…..so all my theorizing about Bob Bird’s 4% may have just been blown out the window. Maybe it’s just Alaska.

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Pulling the Chair Out from Under Joe Lieberman.

14 11 2008

One of the big perks of this election, after getting Obama elected, and after all those positive changes that lie in the days to come, was the ouster of Joe Lieberman. He undoubtedly holds the title of “Most Despised Democrat” in the Senate. His betrayal of his party, his slanderous comments about Barack Obama, and his contstant sucking up to John McCain and the Republicans had many Democrats seething, staring at the clock and waiting for the day they could strip him of his key committee chairmanship.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Lieberman made a donation this summer- a big FAT donation – to the DSCC to the tune of $100,000. This contribution came on top of last year’s donation of the same amount. Apparently Joe thinks that’s what the going rate is to buy friends. Behold the grown-up political version of “If I give you my lunch, can I sit with you?”

Insiders were saying that he was scrambling to keep his Chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which several Democrats who were actually loyal to their party, were champing at the bit to pull from him after the November election.

On top of this year’s $100,000, his PAC has donated an additional $30,000 since last year. Will this be enough to change the opinion of those who regard Lieberman as the Benedict-Arnold-turncoat-McCain-hugging-Judas-Escariot-war-monger of the Senate? Is $130,000 the cost of a chairmanship, or will the Democrats ‘pull the Chair out from under him’?

In addition, the Senate is perilously close to the coveted veto-proof, filibuster-proof Democratic majority that seemed like a dream until recently. With the races of Begich vs. Stevens, Franken vs. Coleman and Martin vs. Chambliss hanging in the air, things are uncertain.

A few Senators have come out in recent days calling for Lieberman’s removal – Senator Bernie Sanders, and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Patrick Leahy, both from Vermont. “I am one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did,” Leahy said in a Vermont Public Radio interview on Friday.

Some of Lieberman’s attacks on Obama “went beyond the pale,” Leahy said. “I would feel that had I done something similar that I would not be chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress.”

“To reward Senator Lieberman with a major committee chairmanship would be a slap in the face of millions of Americans who worked tirelessly for Barack Obama and who want to see real change in our country,” said Sanders in the statement sent our way by his office.

“Appointing someone to a major post who led the opposition to everything we are fighting for is not ‘change we can believe in,'” Sanders continued. “I very much hope that Senator Lieberman stays in the Democratic caucus and is successful in regaining the confidence of those whom he has disappointed. This is not a time, however, in which he should be rewarded with a major committee chairmanship.”

The in-boxes of Democratic Senators across the nation are being filled to capacity as we speak. I don’t have a Democratic Senator…..yet. But if I did, I would be adding to the electronic pile of outrage in my Senator’s email account.

This will be voted on by the Senate NEXT WEEK, so time is of the essence if you want your voice to be heard.

And I’d like to post again one of my all-time favorite political cartoons for all the Senate Democrats (and those who caucus with them) except for the two distinguished gentlemen from Vermont.

donkeyspine





Mark “Stomach of Iron” Begich Speaks.

13 11 2008

begich-kos

Mark Begich made a radio appearance on the Ed Schultz show today. He sounded pretty confident, but not cocky. He’s been through this before. When he was elected Mayor of Anchorage, he won by 18 votes. So his current lead of 814 seems like a landslide! His strong showing in districts with military bases, and out in rural Alaska speak volumes, coming from areas that have traditionally gone to Stevens.

He also discussed Sarah Palin’s potential plans for the future, including either throwing her hat in the ring if Stevens wins and is booted out by the Senate, running in 2010 for the Senate seat currently held by Lisa Murkowski, or running for President in 2012. He also used the word “debacle” when describing the McCain-Palin campaign, which made me smile.

Begich picked up on Palin’s recent quote, “I am not one to appoint myself or a member of my family to take the place of any [Senate] vacancy.” As you all know by now, she couldn’t do that anyway because it’s illegal…but it was a pretty obvious jab at Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed to that position by her father Frank Murkowski when he left his Senate seat to become Governor of the state. He’s the one Palin trounced in the primary when she ran for the position. She may have Murkowski #2 in her cross hairs.

Begich also mentioned that his need to keep his operation going an extra week or two, means he is still welcome donations to the campaign. So, if you want to help him keep the staff he needs to make sure that this counting process goes smoothly, and keep everyone running full steam until the vote is finalized, you can throw him a little love at www.begich.com

Donations big or small would be most appreciated, I’m sure.





Waiting for the Numbers in Alaska…

12 11 2008

There are 90,000+ ballots to be counted, and more coming in every day.

Absentee ballots: 60,950 (postmarked by midnight on 11/4)
Early voting ballots: 9,507
Question (provisional) ballots: 20,178 (voters who voted outside their proper district)

Grand Total: 90,635+  (with more arriving every day)

Today the state will count 42,991 of the absentee ballots and 9,333 of the early votes.  The rest will come later, hopefully by Friday.  But no promises.

The districts that will not be counted today seem to be favoring Begich.

District  Begich  Stevens   Margin
2
          54.2    40.9     +13.3
5          55.7    38.0     +17.7
6          47.8    46.3      +1.5
36         53.2    41.7     +11.5
37         50.0    45.9      +4.1
38         65.3    30.6     +34.7
39         58.3    38.1     +20.2
40         58.8    37.7     +21.1

So even if Begich does not overtake Stevens in the vote count today, those remaining districts still leave hope.  An automatic recount is only triggered if the votes are exactly the same.  However, candidates, or a group of 10 citizens can petition for a recount if the votes are within one half of one percentage point of each other.

And, of course, we’ll be looking to see if the House race, or local races take any significant changes.  Two wonderful local Democrats, Pete Petersen and Chris Tuck are both ahead but by a very slim margin.

It’s 2:00 in Alaska, and still no numbers coming in.  We weren’t sure if the numbers would come in one lump sum at the end of the day, or if they would release results throughout the day.  I’m guessing if we haven’t seen anything by now, we’ll get the final daily tally this evening.

(stares at clock)

(h/t to Daily Kos for the number crunching)

UPDATE:  Ted Stevens lead has now shrunk from 3300 to 971!  Tuck and Petersen are holding their own.  More to come.

UPDATE 2:  Begich is up by 3 votes!!!





Vote Count in Alaska – Volunteer Opportunity!

9 11 2008

For all Alaskan Mudflatters, here is an opportunity to participate in the final vote count. No, our election is not over yet, and all the early votes that came in between October 31 and November 3, plus a steady stream of absentee ballots being received by mail, and “question” ballots still need to be counted.

Vote monitors are needed to help in Fairbanks, Juneau, Wasilla, Nome, and Anchorage.

If you can offer some time to help with this effort, please contact one of the following:

Mark Begich campaign: info@begich.com or featherlybean@gmail.com

Alaska Democratic office: info@alaskademocrats.org

Ethan Berkowitz campaign: info@ethanberkowitz.com

Thanks for considering one last way you can participate and help every vote be counted in this historic election!

UPDATE: Looks like this effort is fully staffed! Thanks to all who stepped up!  **The Begich campaign is looking for a list of backup help should the need arise, so feel free to contact them.**





More on Alaska’s ‘Puzzling’ Election Results.

8 11 2008

The Anchorage Daily News has now gotten on the bandwagon casting a critical eye on Alaska’s “puzzling” voter turnout.

Did a huge chunk of Alaska voters really stay home for what was likely the most exciting election in a generation?

That’s what turnout numbers are suggesting, though absentee ballots are still arriving in the mail and, if coming from overseas, have until Nov. 19 to straggle in.

The reported turnout has prompted commentary in the progressive blogosphere questioning the validity of the results. And Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore, who usually works with Democrats, said Friday that “something smells fishy,” though he said it was premature to suggest that the conduct of the election itself was suspect.

With 81,000 uncounted absentee and questioned ballots, some of which will be disqualified, the total vote cast so far is 305,281 — 8,311 fewer than the last presidential election of 2004, which saw the largest turnout in Alaska history. That was the election where Alaska’s selection of George Bush for a second term was a foregone conclusion, though there was an unusually hot Senate race between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Gov. Tony Knowles.

Four years later, the lead-in for the 2008 election was extraordinary:

• Unheard of participation in the Democratic caucuses and strong Republican interest in theirs as well.

• A huge registration drive by Democrats and supporters of Barack Obama that enrolled thousands of first-time voters.

• Obama’s historic candidacy.

• Gov. Sarah Palin’s unprecedented bid for vice president as an Alaskan and a woman.

• A race in which Republican Ted Stevens, a 40-year Senate veteran, was facing voters as a recent convicted felon against Anchorage’s popular mayor, Mark Begich, a Democrat.

• A Congressional race in which Republican Don Young, in office almost as long as Stevens, was seeking re-election after a year in which he spent more than $1 million in legal fees defending against an FBI investigation of corruption involving the oil-field services company Veco Corp. Young’s opponent, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, had been filmed on the state House floor in 2006 demanding an end to Veco’s corrupt practices weeks before the FBI investigation became known. The news clip played over and over as legislators and then Stevens were indicted and convicted, boosting Berkowitz’s status.

 

 

The full article, including reactions from pollsters, the Democratic and Republican parties, the Division of Elections, and progressive blogger, Shannyn Moore.

The fact that this is on the radar of all those mentioned above is a very good thing.  After the last eight years, it’s become more and more difficult for those ‘puzzling’ election anomalies to slip under the radar.  Mark Begich himself set up a legal team to monitor the vote counting to make sure every vote is counted.

So on it goes.  The election in Alaska is not over yet.

 

 





Things May Be Looking Up for Mark Begich.

7 11 2008

How the man has any stomach lining left, I do not know. But Mark Begich, Democratic candidate for the Senate has been in a holding pattern, 3300 votes behind Republican incumbent convicted felon Ted Stevens since Election night.

There may be as many as 80,000 ballots yet to count, including absentee ballots and those early votes that came in between Friday morning and Monday night. Nate Silver, the numbers guru at fivethirtyeight.com has looked over the returns and raises the following point:

Although Ted Stevens currently holds a lead of approximately 3,200 votes in ballots counted to date in Alaska’s senate contest, there is good reason to believe that the ballots yet to be counted — the vast majority of which are early and absentee ballots — will allow Mark Begich to mitigate his disadvantage with Stevens and quite possibly pull ahead of him.

The reasoning behind this is simple: some early ballots have been processed, and among those ballots Begich substantially leads Stevens. A tally of Alaska’s 40 house districts as taken from Alaska’s Division of Elections webpage suggests that Begich has won about 61% of the early ballots counted so far, as compared with 48% of ballots cast on Election Day itself.

So, if this trend continues with the votes still outstanding, Begich may pull this one off.  Here are the current numbers:

Mark Begich 103337 46.61%
Ted Stevens 106594 48.08%

…and then Nate Silver does all kinds of statistical, mathematical, wonky magic, and we end up with:

Begich ahead in the final count by 3000 votes.  For the man who won his race for mayor of Anchorage by 18 votes, this would be a landslide.

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