Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Unalaska's Democrat Rocky Caldero Withdraws From Race To Replace Republican Ted Stevens In The U.S. Senate
In a story which showed up in no other media outlet except the Dutch Harbor Fisherman on February 8th, 2008, former Unalaska city councilmember Rocky Caldero (pictured at left) announced that his campaign for U.S. Senate is over. However, Caldero is not getting out of politics permanently, but just postponing his involvement.
"My wife and I decided to put our family first for the next couple years," Caldero said in an interview. Caldero and his wife are raising 3-year-old twins, and he said the timing was not right for a political campaign.
And in order to better provide for his growing family, Caldero recently moved to Anacortes, Washington, to take a new position as director of operations with SeaBear Wild Salmon, a company that sells smoked salmon and other seafood products. Caldero characterizes the new job as a "huge promotion", but looks forward to returning to Alaska in a couple of years.
"Home is Alaska for me, my goal is to get back into Alaska politics," Caldero said. "You’ll see me next election cycle."
Caldero first announced his candidacy in March 2007, but knew in November that he would withdraw. He said that he delayed the announcement on the encouragement of his supporters. "I think they were hoping I would change my mind ... many of them were thinking that Stevens would possibly be indicted," Caldero said.
The Dutch Harbor Fisherman erroneously reports that Frank Vondersaar of Homer is the only remaining Democrat running for office. Ethics gadfly Ray Metcalfe has also announced his intent to seek the Democratic nomination for Ted Stevens' U.S. Senate seat. But individuals have until June 2nd to declare their candidacy for office, and it is widely speculated that Anchorage's Democratic Mayor Mark Begich will run. Begich himself has not excluded the possibility.
And if Begich runs, Caldero will support him. "Alaska needs a good leader like (Anchorage mayor) Mark Begich," Caldero said. "I’d be more than happy to endorse him and contribute to his campaign if he decides to run."
The Alaska Division of Elections website still lists Caldero as a candidate, but also lists Frank Vondersaar and Ray Metcalfe as Democratic candidates. The site also lists Gerald L. Heikes and Richard M. Wanda as Republican candidates, although Wanda's candidacy has not yet been officially "certified". Ted Gianoutsos, who's running as the Veterans' Party candidate, is not listed, but is still campaigning. Because Gianoutsos is not running under the banner of an "officially recognized party", he must also submit a nominating petition to get certified.
Heikes previously sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2006, and finished anecdotally. Wanda ran unsuccessfully against Sharon Cissna for the Democratic nomination in Alaska House District 22 in 2002 and ran unsuccessfully for Seat A of the Anchorage School Board in 2004.
Caldero's campaign website is still on line and can be viewed HERE. Here are the campaign websites for the remaining candidates, where applicable:
Frank Vondersaar: Current campaign website HERE. Holdover websites from previous campaigns HERE and HERE.
Ray Metcalfe: Campaign website HERE; campaign blog HERE.
Gerald Heikes: Campaign website HERE.
Ted Gianoutsos: Campaign website HERE.
Richard Wanda appears to have no campaign website at this time.