The Nation thinks the indictment of Senator Stevens could not have come at a worse time — too far from election day. Here’s their take on the two Republicans gunning for the Stevens seat in the upcoming primary:
Stevens faces at least two primary challengers who may be credible enough to upset him: Anchorage developer Dave Cuddy, a former state legislator who challenged Stevens in the 1996 Republican Senate primary, and wealthy businessman Vic Vickers.
Vickers has positioned himself as an aggressive reformer who will campaign not just against Stevens but the culture of corruption that has made other Republican veterans, such as Congressman Don Young, vulnerable.
The businessman says he will spend at least $750,000 of his own money over the next month on an aggressive television campaign against the incumbent. And he’s pulling no punches, saying that, “Ted Stevens became a millionaire while hoping you would be satisfied with bridges to nowhere and other smokescreens to distract you from his wrongdoing.”
Campaign reports show Vickers has already donated almost $200,000 to his own campaign as of June 30.
His anti-Stevens ads are to begin airing Wednesday, and he promises to keep banging the incumbent until primary day.
If Stevens survives the primary, there is little doubt that Vickers and perhaps Cuddy will have softened him up for the fall race with Begich.
On the other hand, it a free-spending primary challenge combines with round-the-clock media coverage of the indictment to beat Stevens August 26, then Begich could find himself running against a fresh-faced reformer who has an “R” after his name.
Officially, Democrats are delighted that Stevens has been indicted.
Unofficially, they admit, they would have preferred that the indictments arrive after Stevens had secured the Republican line on the ballot.