Uncle Ted Draws A Challenger

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Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-AK) problems continue to multiply. The Democratic mayor of Anchorage Mark Begich will throw his hat in the ring today, and initial polls already show him leading.

From Stevens, you can expect much of what voters have been hearing from Rep. Don Young (R-AK): repeated reminders of how much pork the legendary earmarker has brought back to the state — and how many millions are still to come.

As a kind of preview of those tributes to the earmark, the senators’ office has released a galvanizing series of videos titled “What Are Earmarks?”

To Stevens, the virtue of the earmark is incontestable. In this video, for instance, Stevens proclaims that “I don’t think the President was looking at Alaska when he said he wanted to reduce [earmarks by] 50%.” Surely not!

Of course, Alaska is long the reigning and undisputed champion of the earmark. A database of this year’s spending bills by Taxpayers for Common Sense showed that Alaska (even with two of its three lawmakers under investigation) led the states in earmark spending per capita. $346,073,350 in earmarks for 683,478 residents put that per capita spending at $506.34 — drubbing the second highest spending state per capita, Hawaii, more than two to one.

You can understand Uncle Ted’s chagrin that Alaskans would even consider biting the hand that feeds them.