New Print Edition: Alaska At-Large & Arizona 8

March 12, 2008 · 12:05 AM EDT

The March 7, 2008 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. The print edition comes out every two weeks and the content is not available online. Subscribers get in-depth analysis of the most competitive races in the country, as well as quarterly House and Senate ratings, and coverage of the gubernatorial races nationwide. To subscribe, simply click on the Google checkout button on the website or send a check.

Here is a brief sample of what’s in this edition…

Alaska At-Large: Young Blood
By Nathan L. Gonzales

Not too long ago, no one could have imagined that both of Alaska’s legislative legends could possibly go down to defeat. But with Republicans in the state being dragged off to jail one-by-one and the general public souring on Republicans in general, both Cong. Don Young (R) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R) find themselves at risk of losing reelection in 2008.

While Stevens is described as the statesman and even godfather of the state, Young’s image is far less awe-inspiring, and he’s faced with a growing mountain of questions surrounding his performance in office and the ongoing investigation into his dealings.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would have loved to get Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) to challenge Young, but instead the mayor is running against Stevens. Democrats do have former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz against Young, and although he doesn’t have the profile or name that Begich brings, he is a credible challenger who can take advantage of a weak incumbent.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the state is staunchly Republican by the numbers, particularly in a presidential year. And Alaskans haven’t voted for a Democrat for the House of Representatives in over three decades. But as we’ve seen in districts across the country, scandal and ethics is the recipe that can neutralize any existing partisan advantage. Read the whole story in the print edition.

Arizona 8: Bee Ready

Usually the first race to Congress is the most difficult for a member. But in the case of Democratic Cong. Gabrielle Giffords, this year is likely to be a tougher election fight than was her open seat contest in 2006, when she first won the right to represent Arizona’s 8th Congressional District by defeating a former GOP state legislator who was so polarizing that he lost some of the party’s faithful.
In 2008, Giffords will face state Senate President Tim Bee (R), whose candidacy represents a slice of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy election cycle for national Republicans.

But even though he’s the best candidate Republicans could have asked for in this southeastern Arizona district, he will also face the toughest general election fight of his political career.

And while many of her Democratic colleagues are excited about the potential influence of the Democratic presidential nominee on down ballot races, Giffords is running in the shadow of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s (R) presidential bid, creating an uncertain dynamic in the 8th District. Read the whole story in the print edition.