The Juneau Empire's Thursday editorial, "Murkowski's write-in bid gives more choice to Alaskans," is filled with curious statements supporting Lisa Murkowski's self-anointed re-entry into the U.S. Senate race.
The Empire's cockamamie argument that Alaska's voters were "locked out by the state's semi-closed primary system" ignores the fact voters who wanted to vote for Murkowski had every opportunity to do so. They chose the Republican ballot and elected Joe Miller. Murkowski lost the primary election. Now she is a victim, blaming the results of her failed primary bid on the Tea Party.
But anyone who paid attention knows Murkowski has only herself to blame. Lisa sat on a campaign war chest of more than $1 million and ignored warnings from national GOP campaign experts who warned a bombardment of Tea Party ads for Miller was coming her way. In addition, an anti-abortion initiative was on the ballot that would attract Miller's constituency. Murkowski knew this and did nothing. She thought she had it in the bag.
Rather than standing by Miller, winner of the Republican primary, as she promised to do, Murkowski decided she deserved another shot at the seat. As a result, U.S. Senate Republicans stripped Murkowski of her leadership position in the Senate minority, and she narrowly escaped being tossed from her ranking-member status on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She is a persona non grata in her own party.
Any pundit who tells you how this race is going to turn out is just guessing, but most agree Murkowski doesn't stand a chance as a write-in candidate. She could throw the race to Scott McAdams or Miller. People who crunch the numbers are saying in order for Murkowski to win, she would have to win more than twice the number of ballots she won in the primary. In addition to having to win an inordinate number of votes, Murkowski would indeed make history by winning the first ever statewide write-in election in Alaska's history and the first U.S. Senate write-in since 1954.
Murkowski is appealing to Democrats and moderate independents to gain the number of votes she needs to win her desperate gamble. But she is the furthest thing from a moderate. Murkowski did a hard right turn when she got to the U.S. Senate. Her voting record is that of a right-wing conservative. Murkowski is no friend of organized labor, a cause dear to my heart. She voted against the Employee Free Choice Act, but tries to negate that slap at labor by saying she's in favor of Davis-Bacon wages (no kidding!). NARAL Pro-Choice America rates Murkowski at 25 percent. Murkowski voted against the nomination of both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Human Rights Campaign rated Murkowski at zero for her vote in favor of constitutionally banning gay marriage. Murkowski opposed efforts to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, and opposed the health care reform bill. According to Govtrack.us, the top campaign contribution to Murkowski in 2007-2008 was $45,250 from employees of Veco Corp. She is a loyal foot soldier in the Republican "Party of No."
Voters do have a choice of a candidate to "vote for, not against," as the Empire editorial suggests. They can vote for a moderate, reasonable, refreshingly honest candidate who has a terrific grasp of the issues, the drive to accomplish great things, and a personality that will serve Alaska well in the United States Senate-Democratic candidate McAdams. I have been incredibly impressed by "the big guy from a small town." His experience as the mayor of Sitka, service on the Sitka school board, past president of the Alaska Association of School Boards, and member of the board of directors of the Alaska Municipal League gives him an excellent grasp of the issues that affect every Alaska community. McAdams has fished commercially and understands that industry. He has been responsible for budgets and has made tough decisions. He's got the confidence to go to Washington, D.C. and build friendships that will benefit Alaska for years to come. We are fortunate to have a candidate like McAdams.
The Juneau Empire editorial concludes, "Murkowski's entry into the race makes it more likely we will be able to make a choice with our heads held high -- not with our noses clamped by a pair of fingers."
The Empire's suggestion makes me hold my nose! Murkowski had her chance. She blew it. I only hope voters don't blow their chance to elect McAdams to the U.S. Senate by casting a wasted vote for Murkowski. Miller could be our next senator from Alaska, and that really would stink.
Metcalfe is chairwoman of the Juneau Democrats and works for the state's largest labor organization.