Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Begich Is Back

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. That would appear to be the mantra of Nick Begich, because after twice being defeated by Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK), in both the special election and regular election held last year, he announced yesterday that he's going to run for the seat again.

The Begich name is dynastic in Alaska; Nick III's grandfather Nick Sr. held the seat that Peltola now occupies, his uncle Mark was a senator, and his uncle Tom (no, not that Uncle Tom) served in the Alaska state Senate. So, it's no surprise that Nick III wants to try to break into the family business. That said, people who remember the Begich name fondly are largely remnants of a different era of politics, and most certainly not the era that is ascendant right now.

The candidate already seems to be struggling with his messaging. On one hand, he promised a "hopeful, optimistic, and positive vision" for the future. On the other hand, Begich's campaign announcement led with a litany of things that are disastrously wrong with the country:

What we are seeing in Washington is broken: lost opportunities for Alaskans, a focus on so many of the wrong priorities, big government lobbyists and insiders who are selling our nation to the highest bidder, and a President who often can't find his own way off a stage.

That doesn't exactly square with the candidate's promise to be optimistic.

Obviously, Alaska is a red state, albeit a populist-ish red state with a political culture not unlike that of Montana (which is also large and sparsely populated). Residents of both states are willing to elect Democrats to statewide office, on occasion, which is why Peltola has twice won election there. Begich, for his part, not only lost both elections, but he came in third behind Sarah Palin. Not good. Presumably, his thinking is that in a race with only two major candidates, the Republican vote will align behind him, since most Palin voters are likely to prefer a moderate Republican over a very centrist Democrat. Maybe so, but incumbency matters a lot, and there's also every chance that a far-right nutter (possibly Palin herself) is going to jump in and make it another three-way race. (Z)

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