As TPM's Dylan Scott notes, Alaska Sen. Scott Begich plans to keep his Senate seat by running against President Obama harder than his Republican competition, and that seems to be okay with Democrats.
“I’ll be a thorn in his ass," Begich told the Washington Post last month. “There’s times when I’m a total thorn, you know, and he doesn’t appreciate it.”
It might sound a little bewildering to those in the lower 48, but it also might be exactly what Alaska voters want to hear.
In conversations with Begich's campaign staff and outside political observers, the message seemed clear: Alaska, perhaps more than any other state, is driven by Alaska issues and personalities, a result of its history and geography. And Begich has a long history with the state: His father was a congressman and Begich formerly served as Anchorage mayor. He is spending his recess criss-crossing the state, even if it takes three planes to haul campaign stickers and window signs from one town that might be home to only 500 voters to the next.
That is his biggest asset, his campaign says. His staff exhaustively lists every government project won (like rural broadband Internet access) and his travels across the state. They talk about his "parking-lot town halls" that pop up spontaneously. A few weeks ago in Kodiak, he was leaving King's Diner when a group of eight men struck up a conversation that turned into an extended Q&A session, according to Begich's campaign manager Susanne Fleek, who also worked on his 2008 campaign. The same thing happened in Anchorage in recent days, she said, and that's the accessibility that Alaskans expect.
Here in Kentucky, Alison Grimes is doing much the same thing. I don't hold it against them (too much). Like it or not, in order to keep the Senate, we're going to have to elect anti-Obama Democrats who will most certainly cause the President serious problems in the last two years of his term. The alternative?
Keep that in mind. You may be angry with them Lord knows I am. But I'll take a Democrat any day of the week over any Republican right now.