I hope the election results put a definitive end to the Democratic Party's belief in Tony Knowles. Everyone - from Ethan Berkowitz on down - seemed to kow-tow to him as the only person capable of winning a statewide race for the Democrats.
But let's review his history:
- Lost in 1990;
- Ever-so-narrowly won a three-way race in 1994;
- Won in 1998 when he was running against a nutjob;
- Lost in 2004;
- Lost convincingly in 2006.
Alaska is a Republican state and Democrats will always struggle, particularly when they continue to be led by members of their urban intelligentsia, like Berkowitz or Johnny Ellis. I think a lot of Democratic hopes are going to be pinned to Mark Begich in 2010 and I bet he'll run. But I don't give him much of a shot.
UPDATE: I just want to clarify this post, based on some e-mails I've received. My point is not that Berkowitz, Begich, et al. are bad people or have bad ideas. I've never met Begich but I have spoken with Berkowitz several times and came away impressed every time. I'll miss him in the legislature. "Urban intelligentsia" is not a term of derision; indeed, before I moved to Nome (not so urban), I could easily have counted myself among its members.
My point is that I don't think the Democratic Party's route to success lies in nominating candidates from Anchorage. And just because I don't think Mark Begich has much of a shot in 2010 doesn't mean a) I won't vote for or support him or b) I think he's a bad guy. He just might not be the strongest candidate the Democratic party could nominate.