Alaska's Libertarian Party suddenly finds itself in the news -- and the object of political courtship -- as a result of Joe Miller's apparent upset of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary.
Under Alaska law, if Murkowksi is defeated in the Republican primary, her only other option to be on the Nov. 2 ballot would be for her to obtain the nomination of another party. Murkowski's supporters are trying to persuade LP Senate candidate Frederick "Dave" Haase to consider stepping aside so that she could run on the Libertarian ticket -- a move that Haase and state LP officials have so far refused to rule out.
In a telephone interview late Thursday, one LP source in Anchorage told me that although Haase has expressed admiration for Murkowski, he's also a "huge fan of Sarah Palin."
Palin's June endorsement of Miller has been widely credited with fueling his stunning upset of Murkowski. The Anchorage source suggested that a phone call from Palin to Haase could have a decisive influence in persuading the Libertarian candidate to reject the Murkowski overtures. (Palin, by the way, will speak Saturday at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in D.C.)
Meanwhile, Alaska Libertarian chairman Scott Kohlhass told KTUU in Anchorage that if Haase were to step aside as the party's candidate, the choice of Haase's replacement would be up to the LP executive committee.
With 100% of the Election Day ballots counted, Miller had a 1,668-vote margin over the incumbent Murkowski, however thousands of absentee ballots remain to be counted, a process that will begin Tuesday. The number of GOP absentee ballots is unknown, although if the widely-cited estimate of 8,000 is accurate, Murkowski would need to get 60% of those votes to overturn Tuesday's result.
Miller's conservative supporters were outraged Thursday after it was reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was sending its general counsel Sean Cairncross to Alaska to assist Murkowski in any possible recount scenario. Meanwhile, the Miller campaign sent out a fundraising appeal to its supporters, seeking to fund what Erick Erickson of Red State termed a "ballot integrity program."
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