Against Long Odds: Citizens Who Challenge Congressional Incumbents

By James L. Merriner; Thomas P. Senter | Go to book overview

13
ALASKA
DAVID CUDDY (R) v. SENATOR TED STEVENS (R)

In 1981, a young banker who was also then a state legislator liked to spend off hours jamming on keyboards with his rock band, "Enterprise." The combo enjoyed some local popularity and was invited to play at a wedding reception for a U.S. senator. The band and the guests were full of warm wishes for the senator and his bride, especially when they considered that his first wife had been killed in a 1978 plane crash, which the senator had survived. It was an ordinary scene except that it took place in an exotic locale, Alaska.

Alaskans are few, just 650,000 of them. The solitary big city, Anchorage, has a population of 260,000, roughly the size of Birmingham, Alabama, though the "borough" (county) in which Anchorage sits is bigger than Texas. Other Alaskans live in towns or in rural "Bush" villages or isolated cabins spread out over unimaginable immensity.

The movers and shakers of the Alaska establishment might number only 1,000 people or so, mostly in Anchorage, some in Fairbanks, plus a few leaders of the mostly oil-funded Native American corporations in the Bush. David Cuddy, who was that "Enterprise" keyboards player, was a son of this establishment. He might have believed that it would have treated him better than it did.

-139-

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