Yes, our generally Democratic-voting family is divided over the issue of Mark Begich’s presence in the race. I keep hearing Begich is a numbers guy, and he knows he can win. I say, show me the money. Exactly how many Republicans and left-leaning independents are going to vote for him? While it was close, Begich could not beat Sullivan in a statewide race four years ago. Only around 75,000, or 13 percent of the registered voters in Alaska are Democrats, and they are split over Begich. To win a three-way race, he would need all of the Democrats, which he clearly does not have, plus a good number of independents. Republicans are not going to support him. At 140,000, the Republicans in Alaska have nearly twice as many party members. It is much more likely that some of those voters would opt for Walker over Dunleavy. The solid majority of registered voters in Alaska, around 62 percent, are not affiliated with either major party, and the prospect of Begich garnering a solid majority of that block is slim. The future of Alaska and the country is in the hands of this 60 percent group in the middle if we are to emerge from the current winner-take-all morass the two-party system has led us to.
At last count 864 people had signed a petition respectfully asking Begich to drop out of this race, not a trivial or meaningless action. For many who have signed, including myself, it is not a comfortable act to step out publicly and sign your name to a petition asking someone you respect to make a very difficult decision. But it is important that we be able to do so. One of our fundamental rights is to voice an opinion without fear of redress.
Begich is playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with the state’s future based on ego, ambition and his fundamental misunderstanding of how deeply weary the electorate is of partisan politics. Please Begich, step down now. If you do not, the results in November will show that your presence in this election elected the Republican candidate.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.