All in all, Mat-Su Democrats outdid themselves - AK Convention wrap-up Part 1
I've decided that I'm giving the entire Alaska Democratic Party special "get out of hot water free" cards this year after the small-but-mighty Mat Su Dems put on such an excellent 2008 Convention. Yes, they picked an awful weekend to do it as this late post will attest. Memorial Day Weekend is usually our family time to clean, plant, sort for the garage sale and barbecue, barbecue, barbecue! I couldn't toss all of it aside to write after spending Friday night and Saturday in Palmer. Secondly, I did run into "issues" with registration and ended up registering twice (as did a number of folks from Anchorage). Considering this Convention was for 353 delegates who represented 8000 caucusing Alaskan Dems in February as opposed to only 750 caucusing Alaskans in 2004, they have a reason to be more overwhelmed than usual. But I can definitely attest that the positives far outweighed the negatives.
The State Fairgrounds, especially Raven Hall was a brilliant place to hold the event. When I walked in, I realized that I'd never paid attention to what a great space it was since I was normally busy looking at all of the State Fair displays. The only event that wasn't held there was the "cocktail hour with John Dean," held just across the way in the Hodgkins Building. Raven Hall and the catering team also did a fairly impressive transformation from Convention workspace to banquet hall when it was time for the banquet.
I cannot go without paying some sort of tribute to "Husky Burger." Because the @#$% IRS Refund check was late, I couldn't get my registration in before the deadline for meals so I figured my daughter and I were going to have to leave to get fed. However, I discovered that the "Husky Burger" traveling food bus was set up right next to the building. Their hoagie did its job at lunch time and I didn't have to miss the speakers to feed the kid.
Thank you, Husky Burger. (I was so hungry at the time, I would have written an "Ode to Husky Burger" but decided that would be over the top.)
The highlights for me were those events that represented Democracy in action...especially those that were unscripted:
- all of our candidates gave respectful speeches that focused on their campaigns and their strengths (I'll discuss the speeches in more detail in a future post);
- there were so many delegates in competition for the National Convention Delegate spots, the speeches turned into something more like an "America's Got Talent" audition, complete with singing;
- the "delegate fan-out" caused several to say, "I don't think Hillary has 25% anymore" (she didn't - she had 22%);
- one delegate held out as "Undeclared" until the very end when rules made him pick (congratulations, Hillary);
- when delegate Jay Cross from Dist. 15 saw how many other Veterans there were participating in the flag ceremony Saturday morning, he took it upon himself to form a Veteran's Caucus of about 50-or-so delegates...I hope to follow their progress;
- for most of the Convention, the "alternative media" far outnumbered the mainstream media -- Yours truly, Phil with "Progressive Alaska," Dennis with "Alaska Report" and his own blog, Steve with "What Do I Know?" and Brendan Joel Kelley with "The Anchorage Press."
Part 2 will discuss the candidates.