Countdown: Race for U.S. Senate seat on

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2008

It's official. There's a battle brewing for the U.S. Senate seat in Alaska.

Democrat Mark Begich, currently mayor of Anchorage, confirmed what many of us already knew: He's up for the challenge of going up against Republican Ted Stevens.

During a pit stop at the Clarion on a recent visit to the Kenai Peninsula, Begich told us he's heard nothing but positive feedback about making a run for the Senate.

From everything he said, he has done his homework pretty thoroughly, even making a trip to D.C. and talking to other senators about family life to make sure his family will fit well into the Washington configuration.

He said the most frequent comments from Alaskans call for change.

At 84, Stevens is like a grandfather to the state, providing presents and standing up for us when he feels we've been wronged.

We're not saying one candidate is a better choice than the other. There's still a long road ahead to November.

We hope it won't come to mud-slinging, dirty tactics and finger-pointing, and we believe both of these gentlemen have enough respect for each other not to let it come to that.

In fact, we're looking forward to a decent race, one where two stand-up men campaign on their platforms, not on each other's weaknesses.

Alaskans are looking for a lot of answers: namely, how do we get out of this recession? Whoever lands in the nation's capital will have their work cut out for them in taking care of us back home.

Stevens definitely has the stronghold, having been in D.C. since 1968. He is the senior Republican in the U.S. Senate, and the longest-serving senator in the history of the Republican Party. He serves as the Senate's president pro tempore emeritus; vice chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; co-chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee; and ranking member of the Disaster Recovery Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee.

Begich, though, is a formidable challenger. As mayor for the last five years, there's been a lot of growth in his city. And according to his campaign Web site (www.begich.com), "Anchorage's bond ratings have improved to among the top 5 percent in the country, some 9,200 new jobs have been created, the city enjoyed the second highest construction value in city history and property taxes dropped for the majority of Anchorage property owners between 2006-07."

That will gain you a few supporters.

There's good and bad to be said of any person, but it all comes to light when there's an election involved. However, this race is one worth watching as Alaskans can only benefit from the results.

Like we said, it's a long road to November, but we have a feeling it's going to be quite a ride.



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