Friday, September 10, 2010

Why Lisa Murkowski Should Endorse Scott McAdams

Alaska's current and probably outgoing senior U.S. senator, Lisa Murkowski, is supposed to make a decision over the weekend on whether or not to mount a write-in campaign to retain that seat. A write-in campaign in Alaska for many statewide offices has a lot of precedent. Looking at them doesn't offer much prospect for Murkowski's chances.

Several articles on her prospects in a three-way race involving Teabagger Joe Miller, Democratic Party centrist Scott McAdams and Murkowski downplay the viability of such a campaign. First, Erika Bolstad at the Anchorage Daily News:

If she does do it, Murkowski first has to overcome a logistical hurdle that the other candidates don't have. Republican Joe Miller, Democrat Scott McAdams and even Libertarian David Haase will have their names on the ballot; Murkowski will not. The historical precedent for write-in campaigns isn't great. The website Smart Politics did an analysis using information from the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Alaska Division of Elections. Over the past 26 election cycles dating back to 1958, the website found that there were eight general election write-in campaigns for statewide office in Alaska. Of those, two were from the U.S. Senate. The best any candidate did, the website found, was Wally Hickel in his 1978 write-in bid for Alaska governor. He got just over 26 percent of the vote.

Here's the chart:

Having worked hard on Hickel's 1978 campaign (he carried Girdwood and Whittier), I can say the GOP primary was probably closer than the 78 vote difference recorded. Hickel learned a lot from the experience. The next time he ran for Governor, he rented the most convenient party - the Alaska Independence Party - and won.

Because his name ended up on the ballot.

It's as simple as that, folks.

Almost two weeks ago, Eric Ostermeier, writing for Smart Politics, observed:

[A]lthough a Republican primary loss ended the long political career of her father Frank Murkowski in his 2006 bid for a second term as governor, there is chatter Senator Murkowski might consider a write-in candidacy this November to win a third term in D.C.

The problem for Murkowski is not simply that only one U.S. Senator in history has been elected via a write-in campaign (Strom Thurmond won 63.1 percent of the vote in South Carolina's 1954 Senate race).

The problem is that Alaska politicians have already attempted this feat for statewide offices several times over the past 50 years without success.

Even with over a million bucks in her unused campaign chest, is there any dynamic in Murkowski's favor that can overcome Alaska history? I can't think of any.

So, what should she do?

Should Lisa endorse a guy who tweeted that she's a whore around the same time he caused a three-car accident?

Should Lisa endorse a guy who accused her of attempting to steal the GOP primary?

Should Lisa endorse a guy who ran a very negative and probably illegal primary campaign against her, raking in hundreds of thousands from people who could give a flying whatever about long-term jobs for Alaskans?

I don't think so.

So, should she merely stand aside, abdicate her seat to the extremist and openly racist Teabaggers Joe endorses so fervently?

We stand at one of those moments in time when America is at a turning point. The know-nothings of the Tea Party Express stand against the record of Murkowski's attempts to form bipartisanship in the Senate. By endorsing Miller, Murkowski would negate her entire record in the Senate.

To stand aside would be to enable the enhancement of the upcoming poster boy for the fascism Sinclair Lewis so aptly predicted might some day engulf us:

If fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag, waving the cross, and preaching free markets.

Scott McAdams
is the embodiment of small town Alaskans and their hopes for a long-term future for our kids and grandkids.

Lisa Murkowski has a tough choice. Can she do what is so obviously right?


AKjah said...

God i hope so. I hope Lisa stands up for McAdams. She has to do the right thing for the people. These stupid tea bag haters cannot be what our great state is. All the politicos of past would surely be yelling LISA don't let the yahoo steal our state and pride.
Thirty some years i have been building in this state. This Miller asshole wants to insult my life's labor. It aint right or left anymore. It's us and dirt bag fuckin haters. Lisa do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

echoing AKjah here...
Astonished at how Mr Miller is using the anger and frustration over S881 and Ms Murkowski to his advantage here in Southeast and how many neighbors are falling for it.
Tapping into fear and anger is disgusting...
Falling for it torches my shorts...
Lisa do the right thing.

Alaska Pi

EsotericWombat said...

I'm speaking as an outsider here, so maybe you know something that I don't, but I'm not convinced that Lisa Murkowski is considering a write-in campaign with the understanding that she'd have a chance. I think that she's trying to kneecap Joe Miller by splitting the vote.

And it might actually be a better tactic than endorsing his opponent

If she endorses Scott McAdams, the Republican Party will try to cast her as a RINO, and they might succeed, minimizing the impact of her endorsement. As a write-in candidate, she might be able to siphon away more Republican votes than as a spokesperson for McAdams.

Just a thought. I may, in fact, be absolutely wrong both on her intent and the impact. But that's what's been in my mind as I've been following this race.

HarpboyAK said...

If she really wants to damage Miller all she has to do is keep her mouth shut and refuse to endorse him.

If she runs, she'll steal votes from McAdams, not from Miller.

Anonymous said...

She really needs to endorse McAdams. It's the only way he has a chance.