Alaska’s new senator sees change at work
Posted on December 8, 2008
Filed Under Uncategorized
ANCHORAGE — To get elected in Alaska to the United States Senate as a Democrat sometimes requires not acting like one. Talk up drilling for oil in wildlife refuges. Talk up gun rights. Insist that those liberals who control Congress will never push you around.
And when your Republican rival is convicted in federal court shortly before Election Day, do not gloat. He is, after all, Senator Ted Stevens, once decreed by the State Legislature as Alaskan of the Century.
Of course, that was last century.
Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage is the Democrat who last month pulled off what once seemed unimaginable, becoming only the second Democrat from Alaska to win a seat in Washington since his father was a member of the House of Representatives nearly four decades ago.
Mr. Begich’s seat in the Senate has been occupied by Mr. Stevens since Mr. Begich was 6 years old and the state of Alaska was just 9. But Mr. Begich, 46, suggests there is something larger at work in his victory than just good timing in taking on a suddenly vulnerable Mr. Stevens, who was convicted in October of failing to disclose gifts and home renovations he received from a wealthy oil services industry executive.
“We’re a much more mature state in many ways,” Mr. Begich told reporters a day after he declared victory.
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