Daily News reporters Kyle Hopkins, Erika Bolstad, Wes Loy, Megan Holland and Richard Mauer report from the Egan Center in Anchorage, and campaign headquarters' around town. Check back for updates ...
From Kyle, at 12:28 a.m.:
From Kyle, at 12:11 a.m.:
Almost everyone's gone, and workers are packing up chairs in the Egan Center. I tried to find out how much liquor they sold tonight at the cash bar, and got a few curt replies.
I get the feeling we're going to get kicked out any minute.
Meantime, here's an interview with Diane Benson, from a little earlier tonight:
From Kyle, at 11:59 p.m.:
As the room cleared, and a few stragglers still watched the slow scroll of numbers and pie charts, former Assemblyman Dan Sullivan sits across from me.
Somebody should figure out what happens if Stevens is found guilty, he says. Does the Republican central committee decide who replaces him? What if he wins re-election, and is then found guilty?
Sullivan is wearing a gray pullover. As he talks, KUDO talk show host CC walks over, and they share a bag of Matanuska Thunder Chips. CC says Vic Vickers got 4,444 votes.
“I’ll bet he spent $10,000 bucks per vote, or a $1,000 or something,” Sullivan says.
From Erika, at Parnell HQ, at 11:49 p.m.:
Parnell thanked his supporters "for staying up with us," his family and Gov. Sarah Palin, who endorsed his challenge of Young. "I'm just so thankful for her support and her family's support as well," he said.
Parnell said he anticpated a long night: "We're confident about the numbers...but obviously this race is just too close to call."
From Megan and Kyle, at 11:42 p.m.:
As Ethan Berkowitz watched the Parnell & Young numbers, he talked about his strategy for each opponent.
If he runs against Young:
“The direction the state’s going to go. I've always said Don Young’s done good things for Alaska. It’s a question of who’s going to be there for the future. And it’s a question of who’s going to be effective not just today, but five years from now and ten years from now.”
If it’s Parnell?
“I think Alaska needs someone who can fight for Alaska’s interest, I think I could be a much more effective fighter than Sean Parnell could be.”
From Erika at Parnell HQ, at 11:32 p.m.:
Parnell field coordinator Cathy Giessel: "I have new numbers! Sean is at 45.58 percent and Don Young is 45.58," she said, with the room erupting in cheers. "361 votes separate them."
From Erika, who is at Parnell HQ, at 11:30 p.m.:
Kids playing outside, running along the street with Parnell signs. A big, very tired black dog (a newfoundland?) is wiped out in front of the door, draped with Parnell signs. Inside, Cathy Giessel, his field coordinator is staring at the computer, waiting on numbers. Parnell's daughters asked for an update: "There's no new numbers yet but it's 724 votes," Giesse said.
(Oddly, Democratic convention is playing on the big TV screen.)
From Rich, at 11:26 p.m.:
Quotes from Sen. Ted Stevens:
Yes it is good I'm pleased to see that (his percentage of victory), I went around the state. — People told me they would support me. I’m pleased to see they did come out and did vote. It means a lot to me.
I'm doing my job — everyone knows that. There’s a cloud out there. It’ll go away but it has to take time. Alaskans trust me. That’s what this vote says. I’ve trusted them and they trust me.
Begich has a good following? Do you think he’s a strong as James Wendell Kay was, or Gene Guess? Or the attorney general? Come on now, you’re believing all these opinion making polls they’re throwing out.
This is still a Republican state. You think they’re going to go for
Obama? You think they’re going to go with Schumer who’s against
drilling in the arctic and offshore?
Competition with begich? He's my competition. The Democrats have selected a candidate, the Republicans have selected a candidate. But this is a Republican state — don’t forget that. And we know why we’re Republican — because the Democrats have opposed our development every inch of the way. … Biden voted against the oil pipline 5 times.
Senator. How are you going to campaign during the trial? (didn’t answer)
From Kyle, at 11:14 p.m.
Blinded by the light: This is what it looks like on the floor of Election Central ...
From Erika, at 11:03 p.m.:
If corruption plays a role in the campaign, it won't be from Begich. The trial is "something for him to handle," Begich said of Stevens.
"I want people walking into voting booths voting for something," Begich said. "I want them to vote for something, and we're going to give them something to vote for."
From Wes, at 10:47 p.m.
Ted Stevens lit up when he saw the stoop-shouldered old gentleman step into the senator’s Fireweed Lane campaign headquarters tonight. Stevens strode up to him with a big handshake.
The visitor wore a ball cap that said, “Chaplain.”
“I’m Father Elliott,” the old fellow told me later. “I’ve known Ted since he was a district attorney in ’52.”
That would be Father Norman Elliott, a retired Episcopal priest living in Anchorage.
Elliott said he’s solidly behind Stevens, that the senator’s recent indictment doesn’t cause him to lose faith. Not at all.
“So many people are convicting him before he’s even been tried,” Elliott said.
From Kyle at 10:35 p.m.:
All the chanting finally died down for a moment. Wait.
There it goes again. Are you watching the Young/Parnell numbers?
From Kyle at 10:32 p.m.:
Stevens' turn in front of the cameras.
From Kyle & Erika at 10:18 p.m.:
Begich arrived just as the Associated Press called his win in the primary ...
A small but vocal group of six Stevens supporters stood outside with signs, chanting "four more years!" They were outshouted by Begich supporters chanting "Go Mark, go!" A group in an SUV drove by, holding a Stevens sign, shouting "Ted Steeeeeeeevens!"
From Kyle, at 10:05 p.m.:
Obama supporters swamp the TV set.
From Erika, at 10:04 p.m.:
Ted Snider, 44, of Anchorage came down to watch returns he doesn't work for any campaigns, but comes down to Election Central for fun early every election. It's a good way to meet people, Snider said.
He was pleased with the way the ballot initiatives were trending, especially the aerial hunting vote, which he wanted to see defeated. "I've never seen all the initiatives go down," he said.
From Megan, at 10 p.m.:
Ethan Berkowitz made a loud entrance coming into Election Central with more than a dozen supporters. Media immediately swamped him.
"I think your going to see change coming into this state, change coming in a lot of different ways. It's going to be coming from new people, new solutions," he said.
"I'm expecting to win," he said.
From Wes & Kyle, at 9:55 p.m.:
Stevens, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, just addressed a cheering crowd at his HQ. Stevens raised his hand like a boxing champion and the crowd chanted “Six more years! Six more years!”
He called tonight’s results a validation of his candidacy. “People said, ‘We’re with you.’”
He said after tonight, it’s now clear who his opponent is.
“We’re running against a person who’s lined up with those who have been against Alaska for a long time.”
Erika says Begich is at the Anchor, speaking to supporters as I write this.
From Kyle, at 9:46 p.m.:
A couple clips from Northern Lights and Boniface, from the drive over:
From Kyle, at 9:40 p.m.:
Wes just called in from the Sen. Ted Stevens' campaign HQ. It’s full of VIPs: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Bill Sheffield, George Wuerch, Gail Phillips (who I saw waving a Stevens sign along Northern Lights on the way over here) and Carl Marrs.
There’s a big spread of salmon, watermelon slices and so forth. Stevens is wearing a black cowboy boots and a navy tie speckled with little American flags.
When Sheffield showed up, he greeted the former governor with: “Uncle Bill!”
The Stevens team plans to come here to the Egan around 10:30 p.m.
Meantime, a few whoops and cheers at the Egan as Rep. Les Gara, and then Ethan Berkowitz, appear at the door.
From Erika & Kyle, at 9:27 p.m.:
A guy in a hat keeps asking people to buy him a beer. No dice. "Everyone in this place is a Republican," he says.
From Megan, at 9:20 p.m.:
Fisherman Tim Troll is not happy about the Ballot Measure 4 numbers. “Have you ever seen the salmon run out there?”
From Kyle, at 9:17 p.m.:
With the first results appearing on the big screens, a crowd is forming. The buzz: Parnell & Young.
From Erika, at 9:06 p.m.:
It's pretty celebratory so far at Ethan Berkowitz's party at Snow City Cafe. About 100 friends, family and supporters are here; the crowd includes some Democratic legislative candidates. They're very optimistic.
Berkowitz said he started his day in Fairbanks, where he waved signs, talked to a lot of people and drank a lot of coffee. Based on the return hand waves and honks, he joked, "it seems pretty good."
There's a lot of national interest in this race -- while I was waiting to talk to him, he was fielding a call from a reporter with the LA Times.
-- From Megan, at 8:55 p.m.:
Asked why he was at Election Central, Rep. Carl Gatto -- who is running against two opponents for his Palmer seat -- said "because I'm psycho."
He said he couldn't imagine being anywhere else. He left his family at Glacier Brewhouse because he was so excited to see the returns as they come in.
Besides, he said, the Olympics are over.
-- From Kyle, at 8:40 p.m.:
Whew. After some Internet troubles, we’re online at Election Central. The TV crews are warming up, the cash bar is open and a gadfly named Paul Kendall is talking the ears off of Carl Gatto and Paul Seaton.