According to the most recent polls, many Alaska Democrats may vote for Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's U.S. Senate race, as she seems a bit less radically conservative than Joe Miller, and she is pretty well known.
These moderate Democrats, and some moderate Republicans as well, are uncomfortable with the way Murkowski has moved to the right since she first entered the senate, but they are not sure what else to do. They may remember in her first years in the senate she occasionally bucked the Republican leadership, but we have all heard about her voting record over the past year, joining the Republican leadership gang of nay-sayers 90 percent of the time (as described by Barbara Belknap in her excellent My Turn in Wednesday's Empire titled "Murkowski, Miller would be members of the Republican gang").
Despite that discomfort, they do not know who else to vote for. It is unfortunate that these moderates, if they vote for Murkowski, will hand the election to Miller. Moderate Democrats in particular, but also moderates of all stripes, need to face the fact Murkowski cannot win a write-in campaign. It has never been done in a statewide election in Alaska, and some very prominent and popular people such as Ernest Gruening and Wally Hickle have tried. The rules make it even more difficult to succeed with a write-in now than they were when Hickle sent happy-face type stickers to every registered Alaska voter and asked then to simply put the sticker on the ballot. A vote cast for Murkowski is one taken directly away from the other choice in this senate race, that choice being Scott McAdams.
McAdams, as the mayor of Sitka, and with no statewide election exposure in the past, is not well known. Unlilke Miller, McAdams did not have almost $600,000 of tea party money making his a well-recognized name during the primary election. But McAdams is the moderate that people wish Murkowski could be. He favors ANWR drilling, and resource development generally, but is careful and selective in his choices. And he will definitely push the development of so-called alternative sources of energy. He has been a commercial fisherman and is an educator with a very broad appreciation of Alaska issues.
As people meet McAdams, see his moderate ads, and take a look at his website, he will become known as the candidate people are seeking. He is the kind of man who will do his best to work across party lines. Having met him I know his decisions will be based on the welfare of Alaskans and of Alaska. He is not power hungry, as he was more or less drafted to run in this race, but he does know how to use power.
For those who fear Democrats in power in Alaska, maybe because there have been so few in recent years, it would be well to remember that in the build-up to statehood, and in the years after that historic event, Alaska was a Democratic state. I lived in Fairbanks during Gov. William Egan's time in office, and those were very good years.
McAdams is the right choice for all moderate and thoughtful voters. McAdams is a good man, dedicated to doing a good job, and very much an Alaskan. He will certainly have my vote.
Jim Greenough is a Juneau resident.
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