AK-Sen: Libertarians May Cut a Deal, Begich Backs McAdams, and Other Updates

It could be the unlikeliest Senate race match-up of the year: teabagging attorney Joe Miller vs. Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams… but we’ll first have to see if Miller is indeed the victor. Since this race is still so unsettled, let’s do a roundup of all the latest news:

  • The Math: With every precinct reporting, Miller leads Murkowski by 1,668 votes. But there’s the lingering matter of all those absentees, which are still trickling in. Here’s the schedule for counting them:

    None of the absentees has been counted. Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday but could arrive up to 10 days after the election if mailed in the United States and 15 days if overseas. The Division of Elections will do its first count Aug. 31, with additional counts scheduled for Sept. 3 and Sept. 8.

    The Alaska Division of Elections says that “more than” 16,000 absentees were requested, and that 7,600 of them have come back so far, but remember — not all of these ballots will be Republican primary votes. One estimate by Anchorage pollster Dave Dittman says that there are 5,000 GOP absentee ballots outstanding, but I’m not sure how that conclusion was reached, or if that guesstimate accounts for the ballots that have yet to trickle in. (Likely not.) In any event, Murkowski is going to have to win this pile by a large margin in order to come back from the grave.

  • A Third Party Play?: Murkowski says that it’s “premature” to discuss a third-party run before all the absentees come in, but her camp certainly is not ruling it out. One option is a write-in campaign, but the chances of success are pretty dim:

    According to the elections coordinator in the Alaska Department of Elections, Murkowski has until October 28 to file as a write-in, in which case write-in votes for her would be counted if the aggregate total of all write-ins is greater than the number of ballots cast for the first-place candidate, or within the range that would require a recount. In the coordinator’s 14 years, this has never happened in a state race.

    Another option would be to commandeer the line of a third-party… say, for instance, the Alaskan Independence Party. The first problem is that the AIP didn’t even bother to nominate a candidate for the general election in the first place, casting doubt on whether it’s legally possible for such a play to be engineered. (Remember, Wally Hickel was famously offered the AIP line after losing the GOP primary for the 1990 gubernatorial election, but he was taking over the ballot spot of a previously-nominated candidate.) In any event, the question is entirely academic, as the chair of the AIP has said that they would “absolutely not” let Murkowski join their ranks.

    The best option for Murkowski may be to go Libertarian — that party seems entirely willing to listen to any offer she might make:

    If Murkowski loses the primary, there is a possibility that she might able to run on the Libertarian ticket in the November general election. But that would require the Libertarian Senate candidate, David Haase, to agree to step aside, and for the Alaska Libertarian Party to agree to put Murkowski on the ballot.

    Alaska Libertarian Party chairman Scott Kohlaas said he was open to the idea and that party leaders were discussing it. “There’s a chance,” Kohlhaas said on Wednesday.

    Haase didn’t rule out the idea, saying he’d certainly listen if Murkowski wanted to step into his place.

  • Scott McAdams, The Anti-Teabagger: First, I encourage you to read this excellent piece by The Mudflats offering a wealth of background on how Joe Miller came from nowhere to force this nail-biter. The piece also has some color on Democrat Scott McAdams, and the details sound pretty good:

    Scott McAdams, little known to Alaskans outside the southeast pan-handle, is a popular small town mayor. He runs the city of Sitka and has balanced budgets, focused on education, served on the school board, and has even figured out how to sell water to India. He was a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat all over the state, and is all the kinds of things that Sarah Palin said she was, before the media began to shine a flashlight in all the dark corners. He’s a “real Alaskan” in the style of the politicians of old, before oil was discovered and turned a libertarian blue state reddish. […]

    McAdams who unlike Miller, is a fiscally conservative moderate Democrat, has executive experience, was born and raised in Alaska, and has worked with his hands in the fishing industry, suddenly finds himself with an incredible opportunity. One could even say that attorney and Yale Law grad Joe Miller who was born and raised “Outside” is kind of “elite,” while McAdams is all about Alaska, and “real people.”

    And here’s the man in his own words:

    McAdams called the tea party-backed Miller too extreme for Alaska, in what is sure to be a theme for the Democrats if Miller turns out to be the Republican nominee.

    “I invite people who supported Senator Murkowski to please take a look at our campaign. I believe we are the moderate, rational, practical campaign, not the campaign of extreme measures and 19th-century ideology,” McAdams said.

    McAdams said Alaskans value federal appropriations to develop infrastructure and don’t buy proposals such as abolishing the federal Department of Education. Miller has said education is a function to be left to states and localities. He’s argued that if the nation does not slash spending, it is headed for a “sovereign debt crisis” that would be worse for Alaska than less federal money.

    I like it — he’s sounding the right notes and drawing the appropriate contrasts. And he certainly has a lot of material to work with; just take a gander, if you haven’t already, at Jed L’s DailyKos profile of Miller’s hard-right, anti-choice, anti-government philosophy. Sure, Joe Miller’s resume is impressive on paper (West Point, Yale Law, Magistrate Judge), but that doesn’t paper over crazy ideas.

  • No Democratic Switcheroos: The Twittering classes were full of speculation yesterday that some kind of deal would be worked out to swap McAdams on the Democratic ticket with ex-Gov. Tony Knowles, a man who has lost two statewide races in Alaska in the past six years. As we mentioned earlier, Knowles put those rumors to bed, saying he’s not at all interested in a run. McAdams, for his part, is standing absolutely firm, and good for him. Also, good on Mark Begich for lining solidly in McAdams’ corner:

    But McAdams has the full support of Democrat Mark Begich, who two years ago pulled off his own successful upset of a Republican senator, Ted Stevens. Begich on Wednesday had this to say of McAdams: “I like what I see.”

    “Welcome to Alaskan politics. Anything can happen. Everything’s viable,” Begich said. “It doesn’t take a lot of money, but it takes someone who is committed and hardworking, and can run a campaign. So I tell people and I’ve been telling people that this race shouldn’t be discounted out, and has potential.”

  • 65 thoughts on “AK-Sen: Libertarians May Cut a Deal, Begich Backs McAdams, and Other Updates”

    1. The Murkowski camp’s mulling of a third party candidacy if she loses the primary (and Joe Lieberman taking a similar route via an independent candidacy in 2006) symbolizes the problem with way too many of our elected leaders today.

      They’re not about serving the people who elected them. They’re about milking the power and perks that come with being elected to public office, and holding on to that power or perks at all costs. It’s not about actually accomplishing something good with the power bestowed to them. It’s about doing whatever is necessary to get and hold on to that power, no matter who gets screwed over in the process.

      If Alaska Republicans still want Lisa Murkowski as their Senator, that’s their right. If they want to send Joe Miller to Washington in her place, that’s their right too. That’s why we have elections.

      If Miller is still in the lead once the absentee ballots are counted, Murkowski should accept the judgment of the voters and step aside, just as Bob Bennett did after he got voted out by Utah Republicans. If she wants to endorse McAdams out of spite and/or go on a five-day bender afterwards, that’s her choice.

      But A third party candidacy after losing her primary would show that she, like so many of her fellow politicians, is only out for herself and not for Alaskans.

      So make your decision Senator. Do you really care about Alaskans? Or is not just about yourself?

    2. Regardless of what happens seems like Scott McAdams would make a good Senator. Guy dosen’t seem to be a hack and seems real good on the issues. As for Joe Miller. I actually took the liberty to look this guy up on wikipedia (guy’s got a full page wiki complete with photo and everything). Guys freaking nuts. I’m guess a Miller supporter wrote this because it includes everything he stands on the issues. Check out these gems.

      End off-budget expenditures: Receipts and disbursement from the Social Security Trust Funds, and general accounting for the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, would be included within the federal budget.

      Line-item veto: A Constitutional Amendment to authorize the president to veto specific spending items.

      Limit increases in government spending to the rate of inflation: The federal government would be required to cap spending to the rate of inflation plus the percentage of population growth.

      Hiring freeze for all non-essential government employees.

      Establish a Sunset Committee: This committee would scrutinize federal programs to determine if they are necessary and where they can be cut.

      Earmark Reform: Would place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. Additionally, budget requests by members of Congress would be subject to the public hearings process.

      Abolish the Department of Education the National Endowment for the Arts

      Cut off American funding for the United Nations

      Reduce American foreign aid

      Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

      Miller opposes cuts to Medicare or Social Security benefits for current retirees. However, he supports phasing out and privatizing Social Security and Medicare for younger workers.

      He refers to scientific evidence for climate change as “dubious at best.”

      Miller is pro-life, defining ‘life’ as “from the moment of conception to the time of natural death” without exception.

      Earmark Reform, yeah that will go well with the pork hungry people of AK. Thought I should add this incase you didn’t know where he stoon on the issues. But since he’s a teabagger you probally didn’t bother to look because you probally knew the answers.

    3. If voters in Alaska like their pork, and Joe Miller ran against pork, why did he win? Even if that was a very conservative republican electorate, chances are he will still win in November, McAdams chances are still very low, lets be honest. So maybe the good people of Alaska don’t like their pork as much as everyone outside Alaska say they do.

    4. Why do people consider Joe Miller to be such a terrible candidate? He’s a West Point grad, decorated former Army officer, Yale-educated lawyer, former judge, and has a master’s in economics. He’s still Some Dude, but he’s a pretty well-educated and qualified Some Dude. His positions are conservative, but not too conservative for a place like Alaska, and he’s a Tea Party product, but has not said or done anything stupid like Paul, Angle, or even Buck. He doesn’t have much money, but that will probably change now that the race has made national headlines.

      The same goes for McAdams. He’s a successful mayor from one of Alaska’s largest cities. His positions are about what you would expect from an Alaska Democrat. Once again, no money, but now that the race has attracted national interest that will change.

      My point is, this race is now Generic R vs. Generic D. Is that really such a bad thing?

    5. I read the price they want from Murkowski for the party line was for her to agree to privatise the Federal Reserve Bank.

      I cant see that happening anytime soon so I doubt a deal will be made.

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