AK-Sen: The Final Frontier

Behind the scenes here at SSP, I told my co-editors that our daily series of Alaska mega-posts was over now that Lisa Murkowski conceded the race to Joe Miller. But like Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger once said, I Just Can’t Stop It!

  • No Endorsement: We previously noted that Lisa Murkowski walked off the stage on Tuesday night without endorsing Joe Miller — and, for the time being at least, that continues to be the case. The Miller campaign is trying to get a chorus of Kumbaya going, but Murkowski can only muster up a “No comment” when asked if she’ll endorse Jumbo Joe. Democrat Scott McAdams was quick to capitalize on the disunity, going on local TV just before Murkowski conceded to tell Alaskans that he’s “a lot closer” to Murkowski’s “centrist” politics than the radicalism of Joe Miller.
  • Joe Miller, Pension Killer: This is what I like about Joe Miller — he’s not shy about heaping on the crazy. From an interview with CNN’s John King:
    The party has hit Miller on Social Security, accusing him of wanting to “phase out” the program, a charge the candidate addressed Wednesday. […]

    Ultimately, Miller said, he favors transferring power “back to the states so that states can take up the mantle of those programs if they so desire.”

    Asked by King whether it would be fair to say a person born tomorrow might grow up in an America without a federal social security program if Miller had his way, the candidate responded, “Absolutely.”

    Now, Miller defenders will be quick to point out that he’s not arguing to take away “the contracts that we’ve made with our seniors”, but good luck disarming that live grenade that Miller just handed you.

  • Standing On His Own, For Us: I’m not sure if the DSCC’s silence on this race since Miller’s primary win is a deliberate strategy not to taint McAdams with the disgusting touch of Washington, D.C., or if the committee still hasn’t figured out what its strategy is for this race. That’s why I like this kind of attitude on display from Scott McAdams:
    It remains to be seen whether McAdams will receive support from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. McAdams says it doesn’t matter.

    “The DSCC and the national Democratic Party doesn’t even know my name. And that’s fine by me,” he said. “I love the Alaskan Democratic Party, they’ve been behind me 100 percent, Sen. Mark Begich has been behind me 100 percent, and that’s just fine by me.” …

    “I’m not sure exactly what their strategy’s going to be. I’m not sure what their plan is,” he said. “This is a small population state. We can raise enough money to win. Nobody knew who Joe Miller was on the 31st of May.”

    The DSCC appears to still be locked in “evaluation mode”, and the Associated Press reports that they’re going into the field with a poll to determine if their investment would be worthwhile. For his part, McAdams is taking his campaign to the next level thanks in part to the generosity of Mark Begich:

    Ten days ago, Scott McAdams had a volunteer treasurer and a few thousand dollars to help him pursue the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator in Alaska.

    With the shocking upset victory by tea party darling Joe Miller over U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the Republican nomination, volunteers and money are flowing his way.

    A pair of staffers from the office of U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, are taking leave to assist the campaign. McAdams has hired a spokeswoman. […]

    Wednesday evening, McAdams was listed among the top fundraisers on ActBlue.com, which helps Democrats set up fundraising campaigns for candidates, with $76,117 in donations. McAdams expects his campaign to have collected $100,000 by end of the week as Alaskans pitch in to help him defeat the Republican endorsed by former Gov. Sarah Palin.

    “Things are ramping up,” McAdams said Wednesday in an interview at a picnic table in Anchorage’s Elderberry Park.

    Indeed, Begich has been all over this action, sending out an email for McAdams in an effort to raise $250K in two weeks. (They’ve already made a dent in that figure.) Roll Call has more on the Democratic excitement on the ground:

    “It’s night and day,” a Democratic source close to the campaign said about the feeling on the ground in the state since the primary. “People are excited. People are stunned.” …

    “It is happening, and there’s a new surge of energy and excitement into Democratic headquarters out here,” Alaska Democratic Party spokeswoman Kay Brown said. “Scott’s a good guy, a real Alaskan, and I think he’s going to look good and compare favorably against Joe Miller.” …

    The Democratic source said that McAdams could pick up Republican votes in places like the Aleutian Islands, which is home to the largest fishing port in the country and relies on significant federal funding – something some in the state believe could diminish with Miller in office.

    “People are freaked out out here about this Joe Miller guy,” the source said.

    Next on tap for McAdams: a $250-per-person fundraiser tonight at the home of state Sen. Hollis French. Happy to see French working it for Team Blue despite losing the gubernatorial primary to Ethan Berkowitz last week.

  • 17 thoughts on “AK-Sen: The Final Frontier”

    1. McAdams did an interview on Rachel Maddow yesterday.  What did people think?

      On the one hand he needs to hone his speaking skills more.  Too many uhs.  But on the other hand he seemed to have substantial answers ready for all of Maddow’s questions.  He also spelled out a strategy against Miller, talking about his extremism.  I really hope McAdams has the smarts to work out something.

    2. They have a ton of money and very few incumbents who actually need funding from them. I believe Feingold is the only one without a massive war chest. The DSCC is also withholding money from OH, IA and NC. Are they planning on just hoarding their money until 2012?  And why hasn’t Bayh, Schumer and Gilibrand donated some of their massive warchests to the DSCC?  

    3. This is easily shaping up to be one of the most fascinating Congressional races of the cycle. If the opportunity permits, I think a lot of people would love to continue to read any daily, weekly, or whenever mass posts on the race.

    4. I really hope McAdams makes an ad calling Miller an “East Coast educated, fake Alaskan lawyer” compared to Scott’s native Alaskan fisherman background.  

    5. I don’t get the DSCC at all.  They put money in for Harry Ried who really doesn’t need it, but here a quick buy of $500,000 could make a HUGE difference.  Get an add out there – a positive one for their candidate – before Miller and his people get a chance to go negative.

    6. that Alaskans won’t respond well to the DSCC or any Democratic committee in Washington. Begich may have performed worse because of all the “lower 48” money there in 2008.

    7. Harry Reid has a massive warchest. He doesn’t need any additional money. If they aren’t going to give it to McAdams, they should at least be giving the money to Fisher or Marshall. Those are two winnable seats.

    8. His using pre-primary data that showed both Miller and Murk well ahead in match ups with McAdams.  Polling in about two weeks will be interesting, though McAdams only shot is to really get enthusiasm up with Miller being seen as a crackpot.  It’s Alaska, so even that’s a thin chance as being a crackpot (or a crook) isn’t a bar from getting votes.

    9. …polling, since the DSCC wants to keep tabs for its own purposes on every race.  But a poll is a few thousand dollars, that doesn’t scratch the surface of half-a-mil.

      The state party and the DNC/OFA are handling field, the DSCC doesn’t do that anywhere.

      So I can’t imagine why they spent money on Reid, and I wonder if it’s even true?

    10. The committee also spent smaller amounts on coordinated expenditures in several states, including New Hampshire, where it is aiding Rep. Paul W. Hodes; Florida, to help Rep. Kendrick B. Meek; and Nevada, for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    11. My first reaction is that money is going to the “coordinated campaign,” which is the effort in each state and locality to co-locate and co-canvass for all Democratic candidates on a ballot in a given locality.  This is what Virginia Democrats did in 2008, as my door-knocking for Obama wasn’t really just for Obama, I was tasked to query voters on the Senate (Warner-Gilmore) and House (VA-10 with Feder challenging Wolf) races as well.  Sounds to me like since the canvassing includes for our Senate nominees, the DSCC agreed to chip in a little for that.

      That’s a far cry from spending money on ads.  And it’s plenty reasonable, since we’re looking for coattail effects that will help Dina Titus and others downballot.

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