2010: Year of the stealth candidate
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS - October 19, 2010
Listen. That sound you hear is silence. It's the sound roaring out of Sean Parnell, Don Young, Harry Crawford, Mead Treadwell and Diane Benson's campaigns.
"What?" you query in a startled tone. "You mean there are candidates out there NOT running for our U.S. Senate seat?" Yes, Virginia, there are. The problem is that only one of them, Ethan Berkowitz, seems to actually be taking the whole concept of running for office seriously. That's why his ads are the only ones you see on TV that don't pertain to the Senate race.
Now one could almost forgive Don Young for his rather lackadaisical attitude toward his campaign this year. For one, he's is still probably mourning the loss of his wife. That's one of those life events that knocks the wind out of your sails. And who can blame him? Anyone who had even passing contact with Lu knew she was probably the best choice he ever made in his life.
Of course, the fact that he had to spend a lot of his war chest on lawyer's fees over the past few years is also probably a factor. But I'd guess that mostly it is the utter void that is his "opponent" in this year's race that has left him without the adrenaline surge needed to mount a vigorous campaign.
Which brings us to Harry Crawford -- who is, believe it or not, the Democratic nominee for the seat. He is a state House representative from an Anchorage district, an iron worker by trade, and, along with Diane, Mead and Sean Parnell, apparently vying for the title of stealth candidate of the campaign season.
Given that most Alaskans assume Don Young will be our representative in Congress even after shuffling off this mortal coil, it is probably not surprising that no one is rushing to fill Crawford's campaign coffers or break a sweat on his campaign. He is the party's sacrificial lamb, running for the unattainable out of loyalty to the party or hope of future benefit based on favors owed.
Of course, there are those who thought that was Scott McAdams' role in our senatorial race. McAdams has gone from unknown sacrificial lamb to almost known sacrificial lamb. The way this political season is playing out, who knows what he might actually accomplish.
Given how Parnell became governor, you'd think Alaskans would be paying more attention to the Lite Gov race. Given the duties of the Lite Gov, it's not hard to understand why they aren't.
Which brings me to Sean Parnell, our accidental governor, elevated to glory when Our Gal, Temporary Sal correctly assumed two years was all we could take of her leadership.
Had Parnell not become our accidental governor, most Alaskans would still not be able to pick him out of a lineup, even if the only other person in the line up was female. Parnell doesn't exactly set the world on fire with his personality. But after the exciting days of Our Gal, he was welcomed relief -- seemingly the perfect antidote to Sal's hysteria.
Parnell apparently decided to lean on his strongest qualities, like the ability to melt into any crowd and not be noticed, as the best way to run his campaign.
So poor Ethan is out there speaking his heart out, trying to get a healthy debate going, trying to get an actual campaign going, all to no avail. His punches make no lasting impression because, as far as I can tell, he has no opponent to punch against. There is just air where an opponent should be.
Parnell's people say he's doing his job being governor and that's why he's not really campaigning. But I have to tell you that since he was not elected to be governor in the first place, I think he owes it to the electorate to get engaged in this campaign and tell us why we should vote to let him keep the job he accidentally backed into.
Ethan Berkowitz is making an effort to air the issues important to Alaskans. Sean Parnell should get on the campaign trail and offer us his alternatives to what Berkowitz is proposing.
Hiding your head in the sand and hoping your lead lasts until Election Day is not what a real Alaska man would do.
Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/10/19/1509677/2010-year-of-the-stealth-candidate.html#ixzz12w3zoDVV