Opinion: Alaska Natives show their political clout in Senate race
"Bush Alaskans -- Native Alaskans -- were reliable Democrats half a century ago.

Not any more.

Maybe they haven't changed their registration, but, under the guidance of their regional corporations, they have become, like some of their urban brethren, strategic voters.

This was made stunningly obvious by the write-in votes Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, received in Southwest and Western Alaska. She probably would not have defeated tea partier Joe Miller without the overwhelming margin she ran up in villages from the Pribilof Islands to Barrow at the same time that villagers split their tickets and returned Democrats to the Legislature. These Democrats, however, will caucus with the Republicans when they reach Juneau.

The Native regional corporations, through their umbrella group Alaskans Standing Together, spent more than a million dollars on behalf of Murkowski, and it's absurd to believe she won't be beholden to the corporations. This is transactional politics at its most elemental. What's in it for me, what's in it for you? What's in it for the corporations, for starters, is protection of 8(a)minority-contractor privileges worth tens of millions of dollars.

It can be argued that Alaska Natives were similarly guarding their interests 50 years ago when they voted for Gruening, Egan and other Democrats. After all, the Democrats were expected to deliver through federal funds and the state budget."

Get the Story:
Political clout of Natives gaining notice (The Anchorage Daily News 11/26)

Another Opinion:
Our view: Beware super PACs (The Anchorage Daily News 11/29)

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