Did she do it?

Well, it certainly was anything but ordinary around Alaska the last national political season. This year is no different.

It started off pretty dull. We had the usual primary where the democrats and republicans chose a candidate from all those who were seeking office. The winners were Scott McAdams for the democrats and Joe Miller for the republicans. Miller was anti-establishment and had some good ideas. He defeated current US Senator Lisa Murkowski.

However, Murkowski wouldn’t take no for an answer. This is where it gets interesting. She conceded the election to Miller a few days later. After nosing around unsuccessfully for an endorsement from other places, Murkowski decided to start a write-in campaign. Pay no matter that a write-in campaign has not been successful for national office anywhere in decades. I just looked it up, and the last successful write-in US Senate campaign was Strom Thurman in 1954!

Well, Miller was backed by not only Republican national committee, but also the Tea Party. Murkowski was now independent against both McAdams and Miller. At first no one really took her seriously. Then Miller started talking, or rather not talking, depending upon the question.

First, Miller said he wanted to repeal the 17th Amendment which allows direct election of the House of Representatives and return it to nomination by the Senate. He was against public assistance, yet he himself received public assistance when he was first came to Alaska out of law school. He’s never held a political office.

There were issues about his termination as a public attorney here in Fairbanks. He refused to release his employment file to the public. A lawsuit was filed by the media. The judge ruled that since he was asking to become a national politician, the public right to know his past was more important than his right to privacy so the records were made public, except pages about health information and stuff like that. After it was release, Miller said he should have made them public sooner and blamed a young campaign team. He also said his statement that his prior comment about repealing the 17th Amendment was “philosophical” and he wouldn’t actually try to do that. I’m sorry if you don’t follow your philosophy, why have one? He was starting to sound like a flip-flop. Would he do that on really important issues after he was elected?

All this time, Murkowski was gaining momentum. She had a proven record in public service, even if you didn’t always agree with it. She was a republican, so if you didn’t like Miller, you had a republican alternative. She did a big advertising campaign on tv, radio, and in newspapers telling people how to vote a write-in ballot: Fill it in, write it in. (we still have paper ballots so you have to fill in an oval next to the candidate’s name.) Her street signs showed a ballot line correctly filled out with her name written in.

Interesting yet? Add in a state Supreme court ruling about a write in candidate list and an attempt at confusion. The division of elections wanted to make it easier for people to vote write-in by having a list at the poll of write-in candidates to be given out.  As a response to this list, an outside group tried to create confusion by having about 100 people file last minute as write-in candidates with no intention to be elected. Personally, I think this should be a form of election fraud. It was on an Anchorage radio station. The station fired the commentator. Originally the list was allowed then not. I don’t know what will happen to the votes of early voting ballots that used the list.

Well, the election was yesterday. No list of write-in candidates was given. However, by now Murkowski has had her name all over the place in ads and signs. Plus, since her dad was governor not too long ago, the name is somewhat familiar still to Alaskan politics.

Early election results showed Miller and write-ins about even. Then write-ins pulled ahead. Since the write-ins have to be manually read and counted other than just them being a write-in, it isn’t certain Murkowski is the write-in, but presumably so. Today McAdams conceded the election.

This means a republican has won the US senate seat from Alaska. The only question that remains is which one?  As of now, McAdams received 24%, Miller 34%, and write-ins 41%. It’s pretty bad when you lose to not only one, but (presumably) two republicans at once. Including one whose name wasn’t even listed on the ballot.

No. Alaskan politics is anything but dull. Nor are we quitters who always go away after defeat. First, we had an vice-presidential nominee who remains popular in national politics. And now possibly a successful write-in campaign for US Senate who lost the primary.

Oh, and if you are wondering, voters who wrote-in Miller’s name won’t be counted, since he wasn’t a write-in candidate. You had to fill in next to his printed name to count for him.