It’s election night, and downtown Anchorage is vibrating with anticipation. The fate of Ballot Measure One and the opportunity to select the republican candidate for U.S. Senate make the primary particularly exciting this year. Decisions made today will determine the tone of the next couple months as well as the future of our state.
Heady stuff, politics and the power of voting.
It’s fascinating to hang out downtown once the results start rolling in, and watch the scene unfold: Camps are set up at favorite hot spots, and election night revelers hop from place to place, feeding on the restless energy of the evening; reporters sit on the curb, deceptively lethargic, ready to spring into action the moment a potential interviewee wanders by; politicos fervently check their phones, periodically shouting out numbers to anyone nearby; staffers loyally trail their candidates from party to party; sitting officials are smugly secure in their seats; and the men and women whose fates hang in the balance paste on smiles and relentlessly work the rooms.
Alaska is so small that politicians are often friends, neighbors, and colleagues. And if they’re not, well, you can always run into them at Lucky Wishbone or Carrs. Our state is a place where when you ride in the elevator with the Governor, he smiles at you and says “Hi, I’m Sean,” with complete sincerity. We know our elected officials as real people, with the same quirks, petty disagreements, and moments of greatness that we all share. I think that’s why politics in Alaska can be so addictive – it’s easy to know the players, to be involved, to actually make a difference. We’re all in this together, and the future is up to us.
It’ll be interesting to wake up tomorrow and see how it all turned out. But for now, I’m off to bed…