Alaska Editorial: Big spending doesn't always assure victory

Posted: Sunday, September 10, 2006

This editorial appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

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One of the things Alaska voters proved last month is that money isn't always everything in an election. The biggest spenders in the Republican gubernatorial primary didn't win. The big winner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary didn't need to spend much at all. And the million-dollar-plus campaign to stop the cruise ship initiative sank to the seafloor somewhere along the Inside Passage, out-polled by its low-budget competition.

On top of all that, voters overwhelmingly restored reason to campaign finance and lobbying limits that the Legislature and governor weakened three years ago to suit themselves.

Regardless whether we agree with the voters' choice in all cases, score a victory for representative democracy. Alaskans may have been beguiled by politics, but they proved this time around that they can't always be bought.

This isn't the dawn of a new day. Money still matters. You can bet gubernatorial candidates Democrat Tony Knowles, Republican Sarah Palin and independent Andrew Halcro will be raising all they can and searching to buy the most effective messages between now and November. We'll all be spun, and money will pay for it.

The cruise industry likely will keep spending, only now it will be on lawyers and lobbyists to undo what they can of the cruise ship initiative.

But the primary election showed that even well-heeled spinners don't always get their way when voters have their say. Money can talk ad nauseam, but voters still have the last word.

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