Berkowitz, for his part, asked Benson if she regretted running for governor on the Green Party ticket in 2002, and taking votes away from Democrat Fran Ulmer to help Republican Frank Murkowski to get elected.
Benson said she didn’t regret it. “I learned a lot… I certainly didn’t influence the outcome of that race.”
Murkowski beat Ulmer in that race 129,279 votes to 94, 216 votes. Benson brought in 2,926 votes, according to the state division of elections.
I pointed this out in yesterday's entry about the debate. Cockerham understates what Mr. Berkowitz actually did. I got a transcript of Mr. Berkowitz's rejoinder to Benson today.When Ms. Benson countered that the margin of defeat Ulmer underwent was far greater than the number of votes the former had received, Mr. Berkowitz replied,
"I think you should have some regrets about helping to elect Frank Murkowski and getting in the way of Fran Ulmer's election. Think of what this state would have been if we had Fran Ulmer as our governor instead of Frank Murkowski."
Mr. Berkowitz's statement is totally untrue, demonstrably false. And it was made immediately after Ms. Benson stated the matter correctly.
In some states, Mr. Berkowitz's false characterization of facts about a primary race opponent would expose him to Party sanction and a withholding of funds in the general election. Although what he did, if intentional, was far less serious than Ray Metcalfe's leaps to conclusions about Mark Begich's real estate business, it is essentially quite similar.
Additionally, it is negative campaigning, pure and simple.
In spite of the hundreds of times Mr. Berkowitz has said he wants to take the high road, discuss the issues, show a new standard of integrity, and so on, he accused his opponent, a fellow Democrat, of being responsible for the worst administration in the history of Alaska.
To accuse Diane Benson of that is an outright lie.