What John McCain Could Have Taught Lisa Murkowski
If you’re an incumbent running in 2010 with a challenge on the right, go after your opponent, and go after them hard:
Murkowski appeared largely unconcerned with Miller’s challenge despite the Palin endorsement and the struggles other GOP incumbents had encountered in trying to defend their TARP vote.
She was urged by senior leadership at the National Republican Senatorial Committee to go negative on Miller in a meeting two months ago but rejected that advice, insisting that attack ads were not how politics were conducted in Alaska, according to a source familiar with the gathering.
By refusing to define Miller early on in the race, Murkowski gave away her biggest advantage: money. (On Aug. 4, Murkowski reported $1.86 million in her campaign warchest; Miller had just $84,000 in the bank at that time.)
* Arizona Sen. John McCain walloped former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in the state’s Republican primary. With nearly all votes counted, McCain led by 24 points — a victory long expected after the incumbent destroyed his opponent’s credibility as a conservative with a devastating ad portraying him as a “huckster”.
Now, there are many differences between Alaska and Arizona and it’s hard to predict what might have happen if the campaign had gone differently, but surely Murkowski’s decision to not go negative on Miller will be counted as a strategic and tactical error regardless of whether or not she loses.