Republican team takes center stage

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Was it the aggressive campaign tactics?

Was it a population ready for a change at the helm? Was it the parachute plan vs. the economic development approach? Maybe it was combination of the above.

Whatever, we freely admit we were a bit surprised at the margin at the polls by which U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski cruised into his new job as governor of Alaska.

Congratulations, Governor Murkowski. We look forward to working with you in this new role.

It is somewhat ironic that, thanks to a streamlined and very efficient elections system created under the watchful eye of Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, it appeared relatively early on election night that Ulmer was down for the count. At least, it was apparent a lot earlier than it would have been with the system in place eight years ago.

Fran Ulmer has been an effective leader and we will miss her presence in state government -- although we can't help but think we haven't seen the last of her. It took someone like the ever-impressive Ulmer to give someone of Murkowski's talent and tenure a good run for his money.

Aside from the governor's contest and a few others, Tuesday night's horse race was quite something to watch. Locally, it was much more fun to watch if you were a Republican, but the split in votes, even as the number of reported precincts crept ever higher, had several candidates holding scant 3- or 4-point margins.

Meanwhile, elections division workers hinted at relatively high voter turnout. Lines formed at voting precinct places before and after working hours. It was wonderful to see.

Combine that reportedly healthy voter turnout with close races and we had all the elements of our wonderfully imperfect, every-vote-counts system of democracy unfolding before our eyes.

The voters have spoken, and the Republican team came out mostly on top -- not that there aren't differences among Republican points of view.

Combine that Republican control in this state with Republican control of Congress and the White House and the 'R-team' is most assuredly in the spotlight.

--Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Nov. 6

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