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AK-Gov: Berkowitz Gearing Up to Challenge Palin

by: James L.

Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:45 AM EDT


You can't keep a good man down. From CQ:

The Alaska Democrat who almost toppled Rep. Don Young last year is gearing up for another statewide race -- against Gov. Sarah Palin, if she chooses to run for re-election.

"My sights are now on the governor's race," Ethan Berkowitz, a former leader of the Democratic minority in the state House, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Of course, we still aren't exactly sure what Palin's plans are for 2010. She's already ruled out a primary challenge against Lisa Murkowski, but has otherwise stayed mum on the prospect of seeking a second term in the Governor's cabin (something that would impede her ability to run for President in 2012).

As for any formal announcement from Berkowitz, don't hold your breath:

Though he sounds ready to begin another campaign, don't look for a Berkowitz candidacy announcement any time soon.

"It's summertime here," he said. "People don't want to hear about all this yet. They want to go fishing."

On another note, Alaska Democrats may want to think about looking for a new candidate to take on Don Young in 2010.

James L. :: AK-Gov: Berkowitz Gearing Up to Challenge Palin
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Great!
I was just thinking about him challenging Palin. I do not think she is invincible for 2010. She is a walking gaffe machine who if challenged, now being in the spotlight and all, could really say something to cripple her reelection or maybe she'll just pack it in and move to Iowa.

A little surprised by this.
I had hoped he'd go aver Young again, and besides we already have a pretty good candidate in Bob Poe who's gotten some good reviews from the Alaska blogosphere.  Besides, while Palin's clearly been weakened by her, well, political train wreck, it's still an uphill fight.  But if that's what he wants....

That said, if you want someone to take on Young, I'd recommend State Rep. Scott Kawasaki.

http://www.bluearkansasblog.com


Maybe he thinks she won't run
to focus on 2012.  If she does want to run in 2012, the logistics of being Gov of Alaska are pretty tough.

Please.
She's made it clear she'll do whatever the hell she wants for herself.  My bet is she runs again for Governor and then immediately starts running for President.  She doesn't give a damn about her state.

http://www.bluearkansasblog.com

[ Parent ]
Hardly
You simply can't run as Governor of a state you are never in.  It makes no sense for her to stay governor.  If she does, and runs a full campaign, she is open to criticism of totally neglecting her state.  

If she doesn't run for Senator, and she wants to run for President, any advisor worth his/her salt will tell her she must not seek reelection.


[ Parent ]
I'm not disagreeing with you
except to say she's pig headed enough to try it.

http://www.bluearkansasblog.com

[ Parent ]
She is that pigheaded, true, but that is what advisors are for
And more important, someone thrilling in attention won't get it by running for Gov of Alaska.  Been there, done that.  All that can happen by running again is bad.

[ Parent ]
Well, he's a trooper
He'll lose unless another major scandal breaks out, but somebody has to try.

That's all ways a possibility.
Palin has had scandal after scandal, from Troopergate, to her clothes scandal, to the whole Palin family drama, to the nomination of W.A.R. to be AK Attorney General, to her now hiring a legal defense team.  A major scandal doesn't seem implausable.

http://www.bluearkansasblog.com

[ Parent ]
Interesting development
I'm glad we have someone who can at least challenge Palin for the Governor's mansion.  I don't have a strong feeling that Palin will be vulnerable, but at least she will have to defend her record to the Alaskan people.

Anyway, worse case scenario is that she defeats Berkowitz handily.  I personally believe she has less than a 1% chance of ever becoming the US President, so if she does win handily, it may give her a false sense of confidence to run for President.  I know her voice resonates with many conservatives throughouit the South, and they may be willing to vote for her in the US President GOP primaries.  I am actually hoping this will happen because I imagine that Obama would crush her in the electorate map.  She could not bring one state that Obama won in 2008 to her column except for possibly NC, and I think that is even a stretch (NC is a strong military state, but at least we have a lot of common sense people now that will understand her game).  If she won, I could see us picking up states like Missouri, Georgia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, and Montana.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04


Obama v Palin = landslide
We'd win Texas.

And possibly Nebraska.

On the other hand, all that really needs to be done to make her a workable candidate is teach her to speak in very short sentences.  She exposed her stupidity with those incoherent ramblers.  The same ideas, expressed in a series of short, complete sentences, could probably win 41% of the vote.  Which is scary.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08


[ Parent ]
"very short sentences" = sound bites
there's a reason we've heard about them before.

That said, I really HATE it when people want sound bites for things that you can't summarize in sound bites.  It's like politics encourages people's problems with very short attention spans.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


[ Parent ]
Bad choice for Ethan, a kamikaze mission......
He should challenge Young again and hope for an indictment between now and next November.

This business of challenging Palin is chasing windmills, it's pointless.  It's a given he'll do worse against Palin than against Young.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


I don't think this is necessarily true
Palin's approval ratings in Alaska have been dropping in polls, which were conducted before she rejected stimulus funds. It's not like social conservatives are exactly popular in Alaska. The right type of campaign could go after her for not putting Alaska first.

[ Parent ]
AK
Some of the posters on this site are really out there.  Anyone who thinks we have a shot at taking down Palin Outside of some insane stuff coming out, knows virtually NOTHING about Politics.  Probably the same people who think Sestak running against Specter is GREAT NEWS!  btw this is not meant as an attack, I just can't believe some of the stuff people post.

Yes her approval ratings have fallen, so has virtually every Governor in Americas.  That does not mean we can beat her.

I really like Berkowitz, but he couldn't even beat Don Young last year.  He has virtually no chance of beating Palin if she runs.  And if she doesn't I would say he has a very small chance of beating Parnell.

It's a shame we didn't win the Anchorage Election because now we have virtually NO bench in AK outside of Knowles and Berkowitz, both of whom lost last election they were in.

29/D/Male/NY-01


Tekzilla right on AK, but WRONG on PA-SEN......
It's ludicrous to equate Sestak's challenge of Specter with Berkowitz challenging Palin.

Sestak's challenge will be successful either by pushing Arlen's voting left or by defeating him altogether.  Either way, liberals win.  Of course Sestak himself wins only by actually beating Specter.  But collectively as Democrats we win if Sestak merely forces Arlen to vote like a blue stater on presidential nominations and a lot of key legislation.

43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10


[ Parent ]
Compare
Sorry did not mean to compare the two.

I Just would rather not lose Sestak from the House and risk the PA Legislature seat.  Specter seems to be moving to the left already so I don't think a huge nudge is needed via losing Sestak from the house.

If hes going to run for anything why not Gov?

29/D/Male/NY-01


[ Parent ]
Because he wants to be a Senator


[ Parent ]
'this is not meant as an attack'
Yes it is. It attacks the credibility of those who post such arguments.

I've got no problem with you saying you think strongly challenging Palin or Specter is crazy. I happen to agree with you that we likely won't beat Palin. But could you not denigrate those who disagree as 'really out there'? That's an emotive rather than an evidence-based disagreement.


[ Parent ]
No one has said that we're going to win
I said above that there are certain ways that a campaign could be run that could be effective against Palin in Alaska. There's no particular reason why she should be popular there, as she's out of step with Alaska's libertarian views on social issues and she can be hit pretty hard on pursuing national ambitions at the expense of Alaska, including her refusal of stimulus funds. I expect her approval ratings at the least to continue to fall. Having a good campaign against Palin, win or lose, can help with other races in Alaska and help build the party for the future in the state.

[ Parent ]
I understand your sentiment
Berkowitz has a slim to none chance to defeat Palin.  In the same breath, crazy things do happen in politics.  I never thought at this point two years ago that Ted Stevens would be defeated by a Democrat.  Four years ago I never thought the Dems would defeat George Allen, either.

Again, Berkowitz's chance of winning is slim to none.  And yes, several of us are out of touch with political reality.

I'm glad Berkowitz is running for one reason:  he's a credible opponent that will cause Palin an opportunity to make more verbal gaffes.  Palin is not a smooth candidate, probably one reason why she has a lot of support among conservative wackos in her party.  Give Palin the opportunity to hang herself.  If she wins the race, she may develop a false sense of confidence and try to run for President.  Obama would absolutely destroy her.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04


[ Parent ]
Well, for what it's worth,
conventional wisdom held that a freshman senator in a strongly blue state who was also a black guy with a funny name that rhymed with that of a famous terrorist couldn't be elected president.

Additionally, conventional wisdom held that D+25 districts only elect Democrats to represent them.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


[ Parent ]
Alternate universe thinking
Sestak primarying Specter is great news by any measure.  there is no downside at all, as long as Toomey stays in the race as a Republican.

As for Berkowitz, he knows he can't beat Young, and he's banking on the better than 50% chance that Palin will not run again.  It's a very savvy choice, especially since his opponent will either be the LtGov guy who ran against Young, or the LtGov will run against Young again and Berkowitz will be going against a state Seantor or state office holder.

Alaska is a problem, but this is the savviest move we have seen seen so far in the 2010 cycle.


[ Parent ]
I dont think
if I was a Democrat I would be too excited about a man who couldnt even beat a corrupt old windbag like Don Young, posing even a threat to Palin.

A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

Special case
Said corrupt old windbag is beloved precisely because his corrupt windbaggishness brings home LOTS of money to Alaska.  If he didn't do what he does, he wouldn't be nearly so beloved.  Now that I said that, I'd love to see Young's favorables.  I'm imagining them as very high, but not quite as high as Ted "King of Pork" Stevens.

30, male, Democratic, CO-01

[ Parent ]
It's Alaska
Corrupt old windbags are state treasures.

[ Parent ]
Berkowitz picked the right race...
If he couldn't beat Young last time, you have to ask yourself what has changed to increase the likelyhood that he would win in 2010.

Ok, Palin isn't running for VP, but that is the only positive change.  The fact that Ted Stevens was exonerated helps Young quite a bit IMO.  Plus the fact that Stevens seniority is gone, also helps Young argue that he is unreplaceable. I'm sure Obama isn't too popular in AK either.  It is easier to win a state office in a deep red state than a federal one.  

You could make the argument that Berkowitz should sit out 2010, but if Berkowitz is going to run for AN office in 2010, it might as well be Governor.  Murkowski seems safe, so that is out.  

Keep in mind that the GOP establishment might be all too happy to vote for Berkowitz in order to retailiate for her beating Frank Murkowski, and her differences with the GOP powers in the legislature.

Lastly, the fact that her poll numbers have dropped so far so fast, lead me to believe her support is more broad than deep. Her prior uber popularity was based more on oil revenues and persona than actual accomplishments in office.  She ain't invincible in my book. Berkowitz has a SHOT at a win, even if he is an underdog.  


got to agree here
When it comes to politics, you really do need to take a shot at Palin with the hope being that she drops out of the race to run for President.  When and if that happens, we get to take a crack at Parnell, who may have some bad blood out there over the primary challenge to Young.  

I personally always like to see our strongest candidates giving it a go in any state.  

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