May we live in interesting times
Alaskans have had memorable elections in recent years.
In 2006after the raid of state lawmakers' offices by the FBI and revelations of the VECO scandal, we elected Sarah Palin governor.
In 2008 we had that same Sarah Palin leap to the national level as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, who with John McCain eventually lost to the Obama-Biden ticket. On the home front Mark Begich narrowly defeated Alaskan of the Century Ted Stevens, who at the time stood convicted in a corruption case which was later tossed. In the primary that year Rep. Don Young had his closest call, a narrow victory over then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.
In 2010 we had first the victory of hard-right Republicans in Joe Miller's primary win over incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, then Murkowski's write-in campaign victory over Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams in November.
And in 2012, we had the sea change in the state Senate after redistricting that ended the bipartisan coalition and put a solid Republican majority in power. The result the passage of a major cut in oil taxes during the 2013 legislative session, the issue that has dominated Alaska politics for three years.
In 2014, we may top all those.
It's not a done deed yet, but we could be looking at a ballot that includes a referendum to repeal the oil-tax cut, an initiative to legalize marijuana, another to require a vote of the Legislature before the Pebble mine could be permitted and another to sharply increase the minimum wage and tie future increases to a cost-of-living index. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Monday just certified the wage initiative for signature-gathering.
Oil taxes, Pebble, legal marijuana and the minimum wage. If those don't get out the vote, we'd better check the pulse of the body politic.
Add to these a hot U.S. Senate race between Mark Begich and Mead Treadwell -- and who knows who else -- and what shapes up to be a gas-and-oil debate between challenger Bill Walker and Gov. Sean Parnell on the GOP side of the governor's race.
And then there are the state legislative races that may be run under some different district boundary lines than those that applied in 2012.
There will be plenty of smoke, but substance too. Let's hope we all vote based on the latter.
-- Frank Gerjevic