Report: Murkowski Will Run As Write-In For Senate

It looks like we’ll have a three-way race for the Senate in Alaska after all:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will run for re-election as a write-in candidate after losing her bid for renomination, according to sources briefed on Murkowski’s decision.

Murkowski’s decision will set up a 3-way battle between the incumbent, Miller and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D), potentially turning the race on its head. Private 3-way polling has shown Miller leading, but by a narrow margin.

Murkowski will make the formal announcement tonight in Anchorage. She has been mulling her options after losing to attorney Joe Miller (R) by 1.8% — or about 2K votes out of 110K cast.

Miller won with the backing of the Tea Party Express and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). The Tea Party Express spent hundreds of thousands of dollars criticizing Murkowski’s legislative accomplishments, and Palin campaigned against her rival in the race’s closing days.

She has not formally said she will run, but her campaign is inviting reporters to call in. Murkowski spokespeople were not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.

Campaign volunteers have been inviting supporters to a “kick-off” event tonight, the Anchorage Daily News reported this afternoon. And in comments to the paper on Thursday, Murkowski certainly sounded like a candidate.

The idea of a write-in campaign in Alaska seems to quite the logistical challenge so it’s unclear how Murkowski would fare, but a poll last month did measure her impact had she run as a Libertarian:

In a three way race with Murkowski running as a Libertarian Miller would still lead but with only 38% to 34% for  Murkowski and 22% for McAdams. The folks who go for Murkowski favor McAdams 47-23 in a two way contest so somewhat counterintuitively she would actually hurt Democratic chances even though she’d de facto make it a race with 2 Republicans and a Democrat.

While I find it hard to believe that Murkowski would be able to pull off a victory in the current political climate, anything is possible.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Trumwill says:

    While I find it hard to believe that Murkowski would be able to pull off a victory in the current political climate, anything is possible.
    It’s looking to me like she may not even be able to shift the election to hand it to the Democrat. The 38-34% lead was thin, but that was with her name on the ballot. You’re right, though, that anything can happen.

  2. legion says:

    Wow. After all these years of watching Democrats snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, this Fall’s GOP self-immolation is truly schadenfreuderiffic.

  3. Nightrider says:

    When you ask people on the phone who they will support out of 3 people, each one is equally easy to select.  When you go into the booth and there are two names to pick and for the other you’d have to write it in, my guess is that the write in person will fare worse than in the telephone poll.
    So what’s up with Murkowski’s reasoning?  Policy or just ego?

  4. Tano says:

    Yeah, it takes a real effort to write someone in. It does not take much of an effort at all to tell a pollster one thing or another. I would rely less on polls and more on my own sense of who are the voters out there who would actually go through the trouble of writing someone in (who has a long name! – and probably little chance of winning) rather than make one of the easier choices.
    Hard to believe that it would be any Democrat – although I don’t really know. Is McAdams a controversial figure in the AK Dem party? If not, then I don’t suspect Lisa will be taking many votes from him.
    I dare say, it seems that the only votes she would attract are people who probably have a longstanding and deep affection for Murkowskis, and somewhat of an animus toward Miller. And those are people who, in a normal election, would probably vote Republican.
    Go Lisa!