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Is Sen. Murkowski Having Second Thoughts About Getting Back In The Race?

Sep 7, 2010

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One week ago today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, trailing in her bid for renomination in the Alaska GOP primary count and concluding there were not enough unattributed votes out there to propel her to victory, conceded defeat to challenger Joe Miller.

"Based on where we are right now," she said, "I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor."

There was some talk in the interim that Murkowski was considering a write-in effort, or an attempt to get the nomination of the Libertarian Party, but both were swatted down.

Now, in an interview with the Associated Press, she "says she's not a quitter and 'still in this game.'" She's been swamped with calls and e-mails from supporters, reports the AP's Becky Bohrer, "asking her not to leave the race. She says she's been humbled, and is listening — and weighing her options."

Apparently one of the options is the Libertarian nomination. She met with David Haase, the Libertarian nominee, earlier today, but no resolution has been reached. The AP report quotes her as saying "she had an interesting discussion" with Haase "but made clear she's not interested in changing her 'political stripes.'"

Haase would have to withdraw by Sept. 15 for Murkowski, or anyone else, to replace him on the ballot.

She could also seek a write-in candidacy, "which she called high risk." Or she could stay out of the race altogether. Either way, she is "listening to Alaskans and giving 'considered thought.'"

No one has ever been elected to the Senate from Alaska on a third-party or independent ticket. Sen. Ernest Gruening, defeated by Mike Gravel in the 1968 Democratic Senate primary, ran as an independent in the general election that year and got 17 percent of the vote. Walter Hickel, a former Republican governor, came back more than 20 years after he left office and won the governorship again in 1990 as the candidate of the Alaska Independence Party in a three-way race.

Connecticut's Joe Lieberman is a rarity in that, of all the senators who were defeated for renomination in the primary (going back to 1962) — here's my list — he's the only one who kept his seat.

The Democratic Senate nominee in Alaska is Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams.

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