Murkowski Poised for Upset Victory

Lisa Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary, may be on the verge of winning re-election as a sore-loser write-in.

Lisa Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary, may be on the verge of winning re-election as a sore-loser write-in.

Most recent polls show Murkowski trailing behind Miller by only 1 to 2 percentage points, within the margin of error.

Democratic candidate Scott McAdams is at a distant third, although his recent advertising campaign touting his Alaskan roots has boosted him in the polls since August, when even Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse couldn’t recall his name.

Both Miller and Murkowski have stepped up their assaults, releasing powerful ads touting their own achievements while attacking each other.

“The horses are coming around the final bend right now and they’re not in the absolute final sprint, but one of them’s got to get a kick coming out of the bend and look strong in the next week, and whoever can create that momentum will be the one that draws some of that indecisive support onto them,” said Alaska pollster Ivan Moore.

The wheels are definitely coming off the Miller campaign:  The feud with Todd Palin over his Miller’s unwillingness to declare Sarah Palin qualified to be president, refusal to answer questions about legitimate questions about corrupt practices as a public official, a bizarre arrest of a journalist at one of his events, and some unusual policy positions — including advocating an East German approach to the border — have taken their toll.

But, while all the recent polls have Miller up by only one or two points, the fact remains that Murkowski’s name doesn’t appear on the ballot.   While writing down something close enough to her name to make it obvious that she’s their choice shouldn’t be all that hard for her supporters, most analysts see that additional barrier as substantial.   But, really, there’s little precedent for a write-in campaign for someone so established.

She’s probably helped, too, by the fact that she has declared matter of factly that she’ll remain a Republican if she is in fact re-elected and that there’s no “wasted vote” angle here:   There’s zero chance that McAdams wins barring some massive scandal or fraud.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Public Opinion Polls,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] in the Senate races in Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Also, as James Joyner noted this morning, we could be in for a surprise write-in victory in Alaska, although that wouldn’t impact the balance of power since Lisa Murkowksi has made clear […]

  2. Tano says:

    “winning re-election as a sore-loser write-in….”

    Still with that “sore loser” thing, eh?

    Parties are not fundamental. What is fundamental is the people choosing their Senators, and representatives. If a plurality of the people of Alaska want Murkowski as Senator, then she should be Senator, by any standard of democracy. That the people in general prefer her, but no organized party wants to put her forward as its nominee, is a problem for the parties, it should not be a problem for Murkowski, or for the people of the state. They can and should have the right to elect her independently of any party.

  3. James Joyner says:

    That the people in general prefer her, but no organized party wants to put her forward as its nominee, is a problem for the parties, it should not be a problem for Murkowski, or for the people of the state. They can and should have the right to elect her independently of any party.

    I agree with you 100%. But, to me, running in a party primary means you’re honor bound to accept the results. To lose and then run against that party’s nominee in the same election is simply dishonorable.

    I haven’t objected, you’ll notice, to Charlie Christ running in Florida as an independent — even though his doing so seemed at first to actually make it much more likely that a Democrat would win. He was running as a Republican, saw the writing on the wall, and dropped out of the contest.

    Nor do I object in principle to the Ralph Naders, Ross Perots, and others who run on third party platforms and act as spoilers. So long as they weren’t initially rejected that cycle for a party slot (ala John Anderson in 1980), it’s their right.

  4. mantis says:

    It is kind of a sore-loser campaign considering she promises to stay a Republican. Her party votes for someone else in the primary, and she wants to remain in the party yet won’t accept it’s decision. I can understand running as an independent (under some other banner or by forming your own party, Lieberman-style), but running to stay in the party that rejected you? I know Murkowski didn’t really have much opportunity to run under an independent party’s name after the Libertarians rejected her, but it’s still odd for her to want to stick with the GOP.

  5. madawaskan says:

    While the Tea Partiers cry sore loser, their gal O’Donnell after losing the Republican primary to Jan Ting in 2006-(even though she was privy to intelligence on China-get the connection-Ting-China) mounted her own write-in campaign for the general.

    After the behavior of Miller who might be the first to arrest someone who wanted him to answer questions- [historic!] maybe some Alaskans are glad to have the option to write in Murkoswki.

    The guy has a problem with arrogance, first the 17th amendment, then the voting for others- possibly, and now the lack of response to media. is referral to East Germany might have been a vain attempt to mention West Point.

    I will say this-I don’t think there would be much justification for the evasion techniques being deployed by Angle, Miller and O’Donnell because the media has lost credibility, but the blogosphere of the Right has exponentially descended in that area-for the most part. The voters and the truth are both not served.

  6. madawaskan says:

    OK preemptively my penultimate sentence is a mess, and *HIS* referral to East Germany might have been a vain attempt to mention West Point.

  7. Trumwill says:

    The only problem I have with “sore losers” is less with the candidates that switch teams and more with the system that allows them to disrupt the electoral process by way of denying anyone a majority. We need a run-off. That way, if Murkowski, Crist, Lieberman or Tancredo can do what they think is right and offer an alternative but without splitting the party whose banner they once sought office under. It doesn’t sit particularly well with me that someone that claims allegiance to a party with the intention of using their resources to obtain public office then turns around and runs against said party because the vote didn’t go his way, but that’s a judgment for the ballot box in the general election and I would vote for a sore loser before I would vote for someone that I strongly disagreed with on most important issues. From a practical standpoint, though, I don’t think that these office-holders should be able to throw the election to a smaller but more united portion of the electorate.

    On the other hand, all of these candidates are running second or first, so in this cycle it doesn’t appear to be that much of an issue. So maybe this sort of thing does work its way out.

    Even so, for the cases where the above isn’t the case as well as third-party runs in general: run-off.

  8. ponce says:

    James Joyner:
    “I agree with you 100%. But, to me, running in a party primary means you’re honor bound to accept the results. To lose and then run against that party’s nominee in the same election is simply dishonorable.”

    James Joyner:
    “Why, if those partisans decide to snub Lieberman, does he owe them loyalty? If they chose Lamont after Lieberman’s long service as a member of the party–including being a strategic vice presidential candidate a mere six years ago, making Florida much closer than it otherwise would have been–why shouldn’t Lieberman drop the “D” from behind his name and run on his own good name?”

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/joe_lieberman_wont_rule_out_independent_run_for_senate/

  9. James Joyner says:

    ponce,

    Fair enough. I wrote that in advance of Lieberman losing the primary but reiterated a version of the argument months later.

    OTOH, I did write, in November 2006, that it would be “despicable” for Lieberman to switch to the GOP after having been re-elected pledging to caucus with the Democrats.