McAdams says ballot spot makes him the one to beat Miller in Nov. 2 election

Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Democratic Senate candidate Scott McAdams may be reaching a new level of success in his newly invigorated campaign.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Opponent Lisa Murkowski Tuesday issued a press release criticizing McAdams, not tea party-backed Republican candidate Joe Miller.

"That's probably one indicator of our growth," McAdams said, during an interview with the Juneau Empire on a campaign trip to the Capital City Tuesday.

McAdams said other indicators are the Club for Growth poll released last week showing the Miller-Murkowski-McAdams race at 33-31-27 percent, and a strong fundraising effort that's now at $955,000 and expected to reach $1 million by this week's end.

"We'll be fully competitive in media advertising buys, we've got great ads in statewide rotation on both radio and TV," he said.

McAdams was Sitka's mayor before being pulled from small-town obscurity to the national spotlight following the surprise win by Miller, and then Murkowski's entry as a write-in candidate in the race for an Alaska Senate seat.

"Anything can happen in this race, and turns out, is happening," he said.

McAdams said that with Miller and Murkowski splitting the Republican vote, he could win in November.

"Right now we're all bunched in thirds, and whoever gets the biggest third is going to win," he said.

Waging a write-in campaign is a huge hurdle, he said. While he and Miller just need one more vote that their opponents, Murkowski needs between 7,000 and 10,000 more just to account for voter error when their preference can't be determined by poll workers.

Murkowski spokesman Steve Wackowski declined to say what kind of cushion Murkowski might need to account for error votes. To do so, he said, would be to say Alaskans couldn't successfully write in the name "Lisa Murkowski."

"We're going to go ahead and put our faith in Alaskans," he said.

"I think we're going to pull this thing off," Wackowski said.

In 1998, McAdams said, write-in candidate Robin Taylor, saw 5,000 misspellings of his name despite an easier to spell name.

McAdams said the new recognition of Miller's "extreme" views, such at opposition to special funding for Alaska to account for its unique circumstances, will hurt Miller.

The same will happen with Murkowski, who voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus bill, though that bill brought more than $1.5 billion to the state, he said.

That bill had many provisions for Alaska, including a new hospital in Nome and funding for Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, but future bills may not.

"Because Lisa has voted 'No' on these investments, it puts future investments in Alaska in peril," he said.

McAdams predicted voters fearful of Miller's views would gravitate to his campaign after considering the difficulties of a write-in campaign.

Murkowski's criticism of McAdams was in connection with his statement that he'd cut the budget in Sitka overstated the role of the mayor in approving a budget crafted by the city administrator.

Murkowski said she'd successfully trimmed federal budgets, and blamed budget increases on the Obama administration.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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