Murkowski: Right now, we're winning

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010

ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski believes she's winning the hotly contested Alaska Senate race, but she said she's not taking anything for granted.

Murkowski attributes this sense not to polls but to the sense of momentum she feels she's gaining in the race's final days. She closes speeches urging people to vote, to tell their friends about her and get them to vote and then spells out the way in which they cast a write-in ballot for her.

Murkowski told The Associated Press on Saturday that the undecided voters she's talking to seem to be split between her and Democrat Scott McAdams. While McAdams' campaign speaks of feeling a sense of great momentum, too, Murkowski said believes he has too much ground to gain to win.

Murkowski and her opponents, GOP rival Joe Miller and McAdams, are traveling the state this weekend, making a final pitch, in some cases, for why voters should support them. Miller was in Valdez for a town hall; McAdams, in Fairbanks.

Murkowski, who earlier rallied supporters in Juneau, addressed an ethnically diverse group in Anchorage Saturday evening. Her campaign has been working to educate Alaskans who don't speak English or who have trouble writing or understand it about how to cast write-in ballots for her. Murkowski's running as a write-in candidate following her loss to Miller in the August GOP primary.

Leaflets spelling out the process in languages such as Spanish and Tagalog were available at Saturday's the meet-and-greet at El Tango restaurant, where Murkowski turned a few Spanish phrases. Other translations include those for the Russian, Korean and Hmong communities.

On Friday, in what was considered a win for Murkowski, the Alaska Supreme Court decided that election workers can provide a list of write-in names to voters - if a list specifically meets the needs that voter has.

Campaign efforts in communities like Anchorage include trying to ensure that voters who need help from say, a Spanish speaker, will be able to have a volunteer who speaks English and Spanish with them at their polling place.

While Murkowski is confident in her campaign, there remain questions about how liberally election officials will be in determining voter intent if, say, Murkowski's name is misspelled. Her name is also now one of 160 on the state's write-in list following a flurry of last-minute filers.

She expressed confidence before the primary, when Miller's campaign was talking about its sense of gaining momentum but not taking seriously by many people.

Murkowski said there's just a different sort of energy she feels now.

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