One day removed from the conclusion (perhaps) of the Alaska Senate race, the three-way toss-up has devolved into "surreal political theater."
Lisa Murkowski, the Republican incumbent, has waged an unusually viable
write-in bid to save her seat. Joe Miller, the Tea Party insurgent
turned presumptive front-runner, has seen his unpopularity rating soar among potential voters and his campaign implode
after numerous high-profile gaffes. And Scott McAdams? No one was even
talking him a few months ago, but the Democrat has continued to
plug away on the trail, hoping to draw moderate Alaskans away from the
two Republicans who have engaged in bitterly divisive politicking. The
impossible-to-predict race may not end on election day, as the deluge of
write-in votes could stall
the results for the next several weeks.
- Irony: Voters May Unwittingly Usher in the Candidate They 'Despise' The New Republic's Jonathan Chait
outlines an all-too-real scenario where moderate Alaskans, in an effort
to stop Joe Miller, end up voting the least popular candidate into
office. "Moderate Republicans have to tactically choose between Miller
and Murkowski. (Stop McAdams!) Moderate Democrats have to tactically
choose between McAdamas and Murkowski. (Stop Miller!) Any last minute
polls or news could send one or both of those groups stampeding in one
direction or another." The result being that "either the one candidate
in the race who voters despise, Miller, wins, or else a mildly unpopular
candidate who's off the ballot wins, or else a heavily Republican state
in a heavily Republican year elects a largely unknown Democrat."
Part II: By Being Inconspicuous, Scott McAdams Has a Shot at Winning On a "shoestring" campaign that "barely drew any interest" during the
primaries, Democrat Scott McAdams may just pull off a coup in the Senate
race, writes Associated Press scribe Becky Bohrer.
"McAdams' campaign believes it's done everything it could have -
avoided major stumbles, fared well in debates and raised enough money to
stay on the airwaves in the race's waning days." Perhaps even more
surprising is that the candidate is polling well "all while touting
support for Democratic positions that some candidates this cycle have
run from, including the federal stimulus plan and efforts to overhaul
health care, abortion rights, and equal rights for gays and lesbians."
- Surprise: Alaska Could Be a 'Nightmare' for Republicans ABC News's Jonathan Karl
reports that even if the most prominent write-in candidate appears to
win on election night, the race may eventually be decided in favor of
the Democrats. Here's how: "Once the write-in votes are counted,
however, some of them will inevitably be disqualified (illegible
writing, wrong name, etc.). And a small number will be for candidates
other than Murkowski. If enough are tossed out, second place McAdams
would be the winner."
- Warning: Even if the Miller Campaign
'Implodes' He Still May Win The "bizarre" Alaska race has become
impossible to predict, hedges Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall,
who proceeds to describe a Public Policy Polling scenario. "The
complete implosion of Miler's campaign seems -- if this poll bears out
-- to be ensuring that he'll win. He being Joe Miller. I'll let you look
at their write up
to figure out how that can possibly be so. But that's the gist. Another
way to look at it is that Miller has collapsed so badly that Murkowski,
rather than splitting the vote and making a McAdams win possible, now
looks to him denying McAdams the victory he could win in a two person
- Caveat: That Is, If the Votes Are Ever Counted Politics Daily's Tom Kavanagh
details the inevitable thorny issues that will arise in the aftermath
of the write-in campaign. "All write-in ovals are tabulated together,
since the computers cannot read handwriting. Determining what name was
written in would take place only if the general write-in category comes
in either ahead of or within half a percent of the lead after all
ballots are counted....The state director of elections has said that a
vote would be counted if 'voter intent' can be determined. And just to
muddy the waters further, about 150 new candidates registered as
write-ins on Friday, encouraged by a conservative radio host who
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