Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bye bye, Ted Stevens and Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's best shot at joining the Senate just went to the Democrats.

Surprisingly enough, Alaska has just now called the race between seven-times convicted felon Ted Stevens and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich for the Democrat. Begich beat the the seven term Republican Senator by just over 1% of the vote, which was roughly 3,724 votes.

If Stevens had of won, he would have been booted out of the Senate for being a felon, and then Alaska would have had to hold a special election to fill his seat. Given her popularity, Palin could have tossed her hat into that race and thus greatly increased her chances of running against Obama again in 2012. (The Senate would be a perfect spot to gain national and international experience, as four years of senatorial experience would really complement her existing executive experience and thus be a credible threat in the future national stage.)

Unfortunately, Begich won. That means the next election for Alaska Senate is in 2010, which is held by Lisa Murkowski, daughter of Frank Murkowski... the former governor whom Palin defeated in the Republican Primary in 2006. If Palin runs for the seat, expect fireworks as influental Republicans slug it out to the bitter end. *If* she won that race, she'd only have two years in the Senate before the 2012 elections which is cutting it really close... but it worked for Obama. Time would tell if she could replicate his success. (IMO, Obama was in the right place at the right time. I'm skeptical that anyone in the near future will replicate that sheer amount of luck he had in this election.)
Her other Senate option is to wait six years to run against Begich, and then she would have to wait two more years before the next presidental election. Eight years is an eternity in politics, and I think Begich's win means that Palin's chances of recapturing the spotlight in a race for the White House is so far off, that we have no idea what politicans will be the latest flavor of the week.

Let's just say I'm not expecting Palin to return to the national scene for a long long time... if ever.

Thank you Mark Begich!

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