Signs Point to Murkowski Write-In Campaign

Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:15pm

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski will announce Friday night whether she will begin a November write-in campaign to try to retain her seat.

But according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News, all signs point to Murkowski going for it.

The newspaper reported that a Murkowski elections observer e-mailed supporters today, inviting them to the event, which is scheduled to take place at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center at 9 p.m. EDT. The e-mail stated the theme of the night would be: “write in her name in and fill in the oval.”

The paper also reported that Murkowski’s cousin wrote on her Facebook page that the Senator would announce her write-in campaign today.

The political world has been abuzz since Murkowski conceded the GOP primary more than two weeks ago after losing to challenger Joe Miller.

Other than running as a write-in, Murkowski’s only opportunity to run would have been to jump on the ballot as a Libertarian, which she explored by sitting down with the party chairman and its nominee, David Haase. Neither the party nor Haase were amenable to making the switch.

The NRSC has stepped firmly behind Miller since Murkowski’s defeat, dispatching top party campaign strategist Terry Nelson to Alaska and pledging the maximum amount allowed in coordinated funds.

NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh issued a statement Thursday night regarding Murkowski’s pending announcement.

“Alaska’s voters have spoken, and have chosen Joe Miller as their Republican U.S. Senate nominee. If Senator Murkowski is truly committed to doing ‘what is right’ for her state, then we hope that she will step forward and fully endorse Joe Miller’s candidacy,” he said. “No matter what Senator Murkowski decides for her own political interests in the future, Republicans are united behind Joe Miller’s nomination, and we are confident that he will be elected Alaska’s next U.S. Senator in November.”

History is against Murkowski’s prospects in a write-in campaign. Just one person, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), has ever been elected to the Senate as a write-in candidate.

And researchers at the University of Minnesota reported recently that there have been eight write-in campaigns for statewide office in Alaska since 1958, when the state elected its first two Senators. The most support a candidate ever received was 27 percent in the 1978 gubernatorial election.

But one Alaska source who has researched the electorate said there is a gaping hole in the middle of the political spectrum of voters between Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams — a hole that Murkowski, who is more well-known and well-financed than most write-in candidates, could fill.