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May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

... And we're off

It isn't a matter of how much time you have, but how well you use the time.

Alaskans with ambitions for elected office are beginning to announce their intentions as candidates.

At least some are, the ones who want a lot of time to campaign and give voters plenty of opportunity to get to know them.

Lots of times that can be a help to voters; it's 50-50 whether it will turn out to be a detriment for a candidate. But the process to find the flowers among the weeds is what's best for the electorate.

Sometimes a candidate who can get to the point in a matter of weeks leading up to a general election, like former Gov. Wally Hickel did in 1990, is a relief to voters. They might prefer that to a year-and-a-half or so of listening to a candidate or another who becomes white noise and hardly excites.

Voters seek candidates to get excited about — those with not only a can-do attitude, but a did-it, whether in private or public arenas.

And choices. Voters like choices. The long-distance runners are turning out. Some of those names who are giving voters a long look are Rep. Don Young, Sen. Mark Begich, Gov. Sean Parnell, state Sen. Lesil McGuire, Bill Walker, Joe Miller and Bob Williams. McGuire (R) and Williams (D) hope to be lieutenant governor; Walker (R), governor; Miller (R), U.S. senator. Other names, such as Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and Democratic state Sen. Bill Wielechowski are the subjects of election speculation.

While Young, Begich and Parnell all announced intentions to seek re-election, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has made no announcement as to whether he will seek re-election or possibly a U.S. Senate seat.

Candidates who will wait to announce have time yet. Some sprinters won't approach the starting line for some time — maybe weeks before a vote.

But history shows both types of races can produce winners.

And that's what Alaska wants — real winners.