The Anchorage Baptist Temple held its candidates’ day today – a tradition at the church, where most everybody who is running for anything shows up to listen to Pastor Jerry Prevo and then meet the congregation in the lobby on the Sunday before an election.
Senate candidate Earl Mayo’s campaign gave away tiny 1.2 ounce jars of mayonnaise that read: “Life is better with Mayo” on the lid. Don Young’s camp set up a booth with a 3-by-2 foot drawing of Young’s face, and buttons that say: “I’m a Young woman” or “I’m a Young man.”
Last time, it was Aug. 20 and Tony Knowles and Sarah Palin sat next to each other in the pews, chatting. Now, after going on to clobber their opponents in the Aug. 22 primary elections, they were back, alongside U.S. House candidates Young and Diane Benson, and a cluster of state house and senate hopefuls.
One candidate who was missing was Andrew Halcro. Halcro said yesterday that he planned to attend Mass today, but when it came to the ABT event he said: “The whole thought of showing up at church and politicking to me is… it’s not something I subscribe to.”
Knowles, who said he also went to Shiloh Baptist Church earlier in the morning, said a candidate should go everywhere he is welcome.
“When you’re going to be governor, you’re going to be governor of all of the state,” he said.
Palin said she was on her way to ChangePoint church right after the ABT service, but said: “I don’t church hop during campaign season at all.” Prevo invited all the candidates and she was honored to attend she said.
What about ChangePoint? She said one of her staff is a member and invited her.
Later today, Palin planned to go to a Lisa Murkowski fund-raiser for the American Red Cross at Chilkoot Charlie’s, while Knowles said he was headed to Valdez for a rally with former Lt. Gov. Stephen McAlpine and Mike Gallagher of the laborers union Local 341.
Here’s a few highlights from candidates day at the Baptist Temple:
-- Today was also “Everyday Heroes Sunday” day – everyday heroes as in soldiers and firefighters, cops and nurses -- and Mayor Mark Begich talked to the congregation: “I know we all join in prayer for our brave men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan …”
A pediatrician spoke. Firefighters and police joined Prevo and city officials on the stage.
“God bless each of you, and God bless America,” said Anchorage Fire Chief Craig Goodrich.
-- Soon, it was time for Prevo to allow the candidates to introduce themselves. They’re basically limited to saying who they are and what they’re running for, though a few throw in ad libs now and then.
Prevo introduced Young first, saying “he stops in here every once in awhile and visits with us.”
Young said he was here to pay his respects to heroes. Diane Benson, Young’s Democratic challenger, was next.
“I want to thank everyone who prayed for my son when he was wounded in Iraq last year, and thank you to all who serve,” she said.
Palin followed, then Knowles. Each drew applause.
A few candidates, including Palin, mentioned they were Republican or conservative. District 31 incumbent Bob Lynn told the group he’s pro-life. No one said they were a Democrat.
“You’ll know I’ll be a frugal governor because I shop at Value Village. And it’s a gubernatorial race, but please don’t call me guber,” David Massie, the Green Party candidate for governor, told the congregation.
-- After the service a man introduced Palin (red jacket, Alaska pin, whale-shaped earings) to an infant in a green sweater. The baby squeezed Palin’s finger. As Knowles (dark jacket, dark tie dotted with American flags) talked about his plans to travel to Fairbanks and Juneau Monday, a woman wished him the best – “Hi Tony. Got you covered.”
Republican party chairman Randy Ruedrich talked with Assemblyman Dan Coffey, as they both stood next to an Anchorage Police Department recruiter booth. (Ruedrich said he predicts a 4 percentage point Palin victory after all the votes are counted.)
Theresa Obermeyer filed through he crowd. Massie took photos with his digital camera.