From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage--
Alaska political newcomer Vic Vickers said today he expects to pour $750,000 of his own money into his bid to defeat U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
"I think I can beat him. I'm confident I can," said Vickers, who is running against Stevens in the Aug. 26 Republican primary.
Vickers, who moved to Alaska full-time in January, filed to run just before the deadline in June and has had a low-key campaign since. But that is about to change, Vickers said, with statewide television ads starting on Wednesday and running up until election night. Federal reports show he gave over $190,000 of his own money to his campaign by June 30.
Vickers, 59, said he owns the controlling interest of Eller and Company Inc., a Florida maritime company. He said he's also a lawyer, has a Ph.D in economic history, is a former Florida banking regulator and has written two historical books on banking fraud in Florida and Chicago.
Vickers said he hitchhiked to Alaska as a college student in 1970 and was taken in by Alaska Supreme Court Justice George Boney, whose brother had coached Vickers in high school football. Vickers said Boney was his mentor and "I promised the chief I'd come back and give back to Alaska."
Vickers said he's been coming back to Alaska almost every year for 38 years, before moving to Anchorage for good earlier this year. He said he was working on a history of the Alaska oil and gas industry that's turned into a book about corruption.
Vickers said that's what inspired him to run for the U.S. Senate.
"The deeper I got into my research, the more outrageous I found the facts to be," he said.
Vickers' television ad shows him standing in front of Stevens' Girdwood home, which FBI and IRS agents searched in July of last year.
"I am Vic Vickers, and I'm running against Ted Stevens to stop corruption," Vickers says in the ad.
Vickers goes on to say in the TV ad that "I will not accept a single penny from any oil company or special interest."
You can check out his campaign web site here.