Points By Drew Pritt

Dave Cuddy needs to become like Palin to WIN.
August 1, 2008, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A scandal-ridden incumbent in Alaska faces a clear and present electoral danger from two opponents. Late in the primary, both of them are scrambling to gain the necessary traction to defeat the highly entrenched incumbent and win the primary. The primary voters, more aligned with their voters, and seeing a popular Democrat in the fall as an opponent choose a fresh face and the seat is saved for the Alaska Republicans.

Sound like a campaign plan for Dave Cuddy or Vic Vickers in the Republican Senate primary this year or Gabrielle LeDoux or Sean Parnell in the Republican House primary in Alaska? Actually it’s the scenario in 2006 that elected Sarah Palin over then-Governor Frank Murkowski (R), who while seeking his 2nd term as Governor, had been Alaska’s U.S. Senator from 1980-2002.

But for former State Representative Dave Cuddy (R) to follow in the paths of glory blazed already by Governor Sarah Palin (R), he needs to become more like Palin. I see many similarities between the two. On many of the key social issues, like Anti-Choice and the 2nd Amendment, both are in line with their party. But they are social conservatives on other economic/social issues. Both ran statewide and lost before, Palin for Lt. Governor in 2002 and Cuddy interestingly enough for U.S. Senate in 1996 against Stevens. Both have a fresh outlook and provide Alaska Republicans with the next generation.

Palin was helped because of her gender, so Cuddy has got to find a niche, and fast. Just like John Binkley in 2006 bought up large amounts of television advertising, Vic Vickers is investing in 5,000 television ads in the closing weeks. Murkowski and Stevens both relied on the party infastructure and both may see those party allies desert if they see a better option like they did with Palin and could with Cuddy.

Cuddy comes from one of Alaska’s most prominent banking families. He’s a former state legislator and used to be president of First National Bank of Anchorage. Cuddy spent roughly $1 million, most of that from his own bank account, in an unsuccessful effort to wrest the party nomination from Stevens in 1996. He got just a third of the vote that year. Cuddy, 55, ran that race as a conservative who said he wanted to shrink government and cut taxes. It turned into a hard-hitting campaign in which Cuddy accused Stevens in a series of advertisements of breaking the law and abusing the perks of power. The Federal Election Commission ended up dismissing a claim by Cuddy that Stevens’ 1990 campaign committee improperly spent campaign contributions on him and his staff. Cuddy said he does intend to focus on the broad issues of government reform and clean elections. He has said it’s a question of whether voters want pork or good government.

Good government worked once for Sarah Palin. Could lightning strike again for Dave Cuddy? Only time will tell.


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