Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sheldon Fisher Graciously Concedes, Urges Alaska Republicans To Unite Behind Congressman Don Young

In the U.S. House Republican race on August 24th, 2010, Alaska Republicans decided by a margin of over two-to-one that the recent political difficulties experienced by incumbent Congressman Don Young were not as important as his seniority - and his demonstrated expertise in constituent work. With 429 of 438 precincts counted, Don Young received 70.4 percent of the vote, while Sheldon Fisher got 23.56 percent. John Cox trailed with 6.04 percent.

In response, Fisher posted this gracious concession on his Facebook page, urging Republicans to get behind Young:

Thank you all for your incredible support! This campaign has been quite an experience - the part I most appreciated was engaging in dialogue Alaskans all across the state. Thank you again for your generous support. It is important that we restore Conservative control of the US House so I will stand behind Don Young; I ...encourage you to do so as well. Again, I cannot express enough thanks for your love and support!


An Anchorage Daily News article sums up the outcome quite well. Exit polling showed that most people chose Don Young because of his seniority and his prominence; one person basically said "Young's been there forever and we know him". In contrast, some people opined that there was not enough information about Sheldon Fisher to make a logical decision, although Fisher's website has been up for six months and he campaigned hard. Even his well-crafted "Contract With Alaska" could not change voters' minds.

There could be another factor. Many of these same voters decided to reject Lisa Murkowski's seniority and vote for Joe Miller. Perhaps they decided they couldn't afford to throw away all of Alaska's Congressional seniority, so they hedged their Miller bet by voting for Young.

But the comments - or comparative lack of same - to the ADN story revealed another issue. While stories about Joe Miller attracted dozens if not hundreds of comments, this story has attracted only 42 comments. The fact is, Sheldon Fisher did not provoke the same degree of passion amongst voters as Joe Miller did. And because Fisher ran a drama-free campaign, his story got swallowed up in the publicity blitz over Miller. Unfortunately, during the Era of the Sound Bite, charisma is a necessary characteristic. Sarah Palin best exemplifies this; almost through sheer charisma alone, Palin can transform a sand castle into a Taj Mahal if necessary.

Now that we've settled on Don Young, we need to get behind him and ensure that he does go back to Congress. The Democratic opponent, Harry Crawford, is not chopped liver; a current State Representative who's been elected a number of times, he's a credible opponent who's been death to DUIs (his wife was seriously injured by a drunk driver) and is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. It will take effort to defeat Harry Crawford. But Sheldon Fisher is to be commended for the time and interest he showed in offering himself for service; he would have made a worthy addition to the U.S. House.

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