May we just say: MARK BEGICH and FRANK KRATOVIL!?! Both races went down to a handful of votes, and both races were deemed "unwinnable" just months ago. Lo and behold, both races ushered in a bright new generation of ocean leadership that we desperately need.
After being down by over 3,000 votes after Election Day counting, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) made up that margin and more from absentee ballots and early votes (in a paradox of paradoxes, these are counted last in Alaska), to defeat incumbent Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) by a margin of 3,724 votes. Talk about the 'Comeback Kid!' Easily one of the closest races in the country; this added to a record number of new senators championing the oceans (3 this year alone).
Same goes for Frank Kratovil, over in the House. Kratovil was running to take the place of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), who was defeated in the Republican primary in February by anti-environment zealot State Sen. Andy Harris (R). Gilchrest was the first candidate to ever be endorsed by Ocean Champions, and he crossed party lines to endorse Kratovil, knowing that only he would carry on his legacy of protecting the oceans. Like Begich, Kratovil squeaked out a win, and his race was finally called the Friday after Election Day. Ocean Champions Boardmember, Mike Dunmyer attended Kratovil's belated victory party last Friday and reported the new Congressman as being very grateful to Ocean Champions for our support.
What's great about both of these candidates is that they are young, energetic, and have great careers ahead of them. We went out on a limb with both candidates and really went to the mat to help them get into Congress. We're confident that Begich and Kratovil are going to be friends for the oceans for years to come.
This brings our record in this year's election to 28 of 34 - not bad at all, if we do say so ourselves. But now is no time to rest on our laurels - we're already working with old friends, and new, plotting legislative strategy in what promises to be one of the most exciting Congresses we've ever seen.
It would be a shame to get these great folks elected and then not be able to work with them to get the job done. Sign up, get active, and contribute to Ocean Champions--so we can hit the ground running in protecting our oceans. It's going to be a great year.
For The Oceans,
The Oceans Champions TeamP.S. Greenwire's recent article: "OCEANS: Marine advocates look to new leadership to advance lengthy agenda"