However, the question of Mark Begich's future political plans came up, and this is how he responded:
January 1, 2008 - 8:33pm mbegich
If I decide to run it will not be based on the issue of Ted retiring or indicted. I think folks waiting for one of those issues to happen I believe would be running for the wrong reasons.
I have not made any decision about running. It would have to fit with my family, I would have to believe I can offer something for Alaska/Country and that I can bring a new level of energy and purpose to the position.
So no answer at this point and I have not thought about what I would do after I leave office. I like public service.
While this cannot be considered an "official" statement in any sense of the word, it does provide insight into Mark Begich's thinking. I believe he is sincere in his desire to make the decision independent of what might happen to Ted Stevens.
But you know damn well that if Ted Stevens gets indicted, Mark Begich will start salivating at the prospect of getting into the race, even if it's for no other reason than to salvage our state's reputation. After all, he is still a politician, and that's what politicians do. But, as one other commenter pointed out, if Tony Knowles, who had statewide name recognition, could not defeat a then-weak Republican Lisa Murkowski in the U.S. Senate race in 2004, then Mark Begich, who does NOT have the same degree of statewide recognition, might find an even politically-wounded Ted Stevens too tough of a nut to crack in 2008.
So for the time being, the Democratic Senatorial candidate field is left to the insurgent ethics gadfly Ray Metcalfe, although the unassuming but competent Rocky Caldero of Dutch Harbor could start gaining ground. Frank Vondersaar of Homer rounds out the Democratic field and is not expected to be a factor, although anyone who declares a candidacy and is willing to take his or her case to the people is worthy of respect just for that trait alone.