JUNEAU, Alaska – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Monday she feels that Republican leaders have turned their backs on her as she mounts a write-in bid to try to hold onto her seat.
All together now: Awwwwwwwwww.
Earth to Lisa: The GOP didn’t turn it’s back on you, you turned your back on them. Joe Miller won the Republican nomination. The normal thing to do, if you’re a Republican, is to support the Republican nominee. When Murkowski instead announced a write-in bid, Republican leaders quite properly stripped her of her leadership position and threw their support behind Miller. Did she really expect that they’d support her over the Republican nominee?
When I said the other day that GOP leaders should warn Murkowski that she’d lose her seniority if she managed to salvage her seat this way (which they’ve apparently done), I hypothesized that her candidacy would split the Republican vote and make Democrat Scott McAdams the frontrunner. Now I’m not so sure. Last month a PPP poll measured what would happen if Murkowski was on the ballot in a three-way race (at the time there was speculation that she might take the Libertarian Party nomination, but the Alaska LP quite properly rejected that idea since Murkowski isn’t a libertarian by any stretch). That poll showed Miller still winning, with Murkowski in a close second. The Hill‘s election blog notes that “a GOP source points to internal polling that indicates Murkowski’s write-in bid takes an equal amount of support from Democrat Scott McAdams as it does Miller.” Unless McAdams steps up and runs a really great campaign, he may not be able to capitalize on the opportunity Murkowski is offering him. And given that a write-in campaign is harder to run than a campaign where the candidate’s name is actually on the ballot, there’s a good chance that Murkowski won’t do nearly as well on election day as she does in polls.
It’s obvious why Murkowski is making this run: She has a grudge against Sarah Palin. Palin beat her father Frank Murkowski in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. (Frank Murkowski had been a Senator for decades, then became governor in 2002 and appointed his daughter to fill his Senate seat.) Then Palin endorsed Joe Miller, who beat the younger Murkowski this year. Murkowski calling herself “one Republican woman who won’t quit on Alaska” was an obvious dig at Palin — and perhaps an attempt to attract anti-Palin voters. But while “I hate Sarah Palin so much!” is a great premise for a liberal blog, it’s not much of a campaign platform, and since one assumes that most Palin-haters are Democrats, there’s a good chance that by running an anti-Palin campaign, Murkowski will make it harder for McAdams to gain traction. That would mean that she’d get beaten by the Palin-endorse Miller all over again. How sad.
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