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Monday, December 26, 2005

AK-Gov: A Return for Knowles?

Posted by DavidNYC

One of the bitterest losses last year was up in Alaska. Popular former Gov. Tony Knowles lost by just three points to "incumbent" Sen. Lisa Murkowski. I put incumbent in quotes because, despite her minimal qualifications, she had been tapped to fill a brief Senate vacancy by the state's governor. Who happened to have created the vacancy himself by leaving the Senate to become governor. And who also happened to be her father. It especially sticks in my craw because Lisa M. is pretty unpopular (60th, vs. 10 for AK's super-senior senator, Ted Stevens).

But there's a silver lining to all this - a very shiny, lustrous silvery lining indeed, at least for Democrats. Frank M. (Lisa's daddy) is now the second-least popular American governor in all creation. His approval rating stands at an astounding 27-69. (Frank says a prayer for #50 Bob Taft's health every day.) Indeed, Frank may not even run again. This gives Tony Knowles a golden opportunity to reclaim his old office. TK was term-limited out in 2002, but the AK state constitution allows a former Governor to run again after a one-term interval.

And it looks like TK is at least thinking about tossing his hat back in. The AK Dems recently touted a public appearance by Knowles - the first time they've done so since he lost to Lisa M. last year. Of course, this is just tea-leaf reading right now, and there already are two Dem candidates in the mix: State Reps. Eric Croft and Ethan Berkowitz.

Pollster Ivan Moore claims that any one of these guys - Croft, Berkowitz or Knowles - could beat Frank. However, two things: First, in eleven straight polls last year, Moore had Knowles leading Lisa, including a two-point margin in his final poll in mid-October. So that's something of a mark against him. But second, and more importantly, if Murkowski decides not to run again, then the GOP will probably have a more formidable candidate (ie, one without all that baggage and those horrible negatives).

In that scenario, we'd want our biggest guns blazing - and that would take the form of Tony Knowles. Fact is, we'd want the strongest guy we can muster no matter whom the Republicans put forth, even if it is Frank. As I'm sure you've gathered from this post, I'd like to see Knowles jump in, but TK has to make up his mind soon, though. By keeping everyone on tenterhooks, he makes it a lot harder for Croft and Berkowitz to raise money and gain traction. Let's hope we hear from him before long.

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Alaska | Technorati

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I am still disgusted by Knowles miserable performance in the 2004 senate Race. He blew it big time had the seat for the taking.

Posted by: davis [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 28, 2005 06:06 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Was it really his fault? Seems to me like would it weren't for Bush's coattails, Knowles would have been a Senator right now.

Posted by: HellofaSandwich [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 11:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Miserable performance? He lost by three points in a super-red state in a very big Republican year. I'm disappointed, but to be disgusted? He ran a pitch-perfect campaign, near as I can tell. What should he have done differently? What mistakes did he make?

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2005 12:58 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Actually, I think the thing that hurt Knowles was Ted Stevens appearing in an ad talking about how he would lose his power if the Democrats took the Senate.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2005 03:47 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

So then maybe the Democrats should want Knowles' next big race to be a run for the Senate when Ted Stevens retires - not a race for governor.

Posted by: ArmandK [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2005 03:38 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Armand: A lot of people are indeed strongly talking up Knowles for AK-Sen in 2008. If he declines to run for Gov next year, I'll readily support him for Sen in `08.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2005 06:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think Knowles should hold off till 08. The current Republican Govenor is so corrupt any Dem. Could be beat him. I think TK is more interested in Washingtion anyway. (no offense or anything but being AK's Govenor isn't that great...)

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2005 09:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'd say Knowles is a descent candidate for '08. He only received marginal popularity ratings during his 2 terms as gov, but for a red state that's not bad. I too thought he had a shot, but in a small(population) state like AK the Carl Rove smear tactics were rampant, and Lisa had some evil people on her side. Still, if Knowles got it or if he gets it in '08 he's going to push for ANWR just as hard as Stevens, just as any AK democrat would. The man to watch for governor in '06 is Ethan Berkowitz. He is scoring fairly high in the state, well above murkowsi, and with his credentials, record & experience, could beat any new oil-rich GOP front runners that come along if Murkowski decides not to run, which is looking that way.

Posted by: jsmog [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2006 04:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Gretchen Guess is somebody who could be a pretty decent U.S. House Candidate (when Don Young retires). Guess isn't running for re-election to the Alaska State Senate this year because she's pregnant. Well, yeah, the pregnancy thing might complicate things. But it didn't seem to complicate things for Blanche Lincoln.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2006 09:11 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment