Alaska Talk Host Pushes Write-ins to Muddy Waters

Friday, 29 Oct 2010 01:18 PM

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A conservative radio host in Alaska wants his listeners to cramp writers' style in the continually entertaining U.S. Senate race in which former Gov. Sarah Palin helped political neophyte but tea-party darling Joe Miller knock off incumbent Lisa Murkowski. KFQD radio host Dan Fagan dreamed up the idea because it looks like Murkowski may have a decent chance to keep her D.C. address with her write-in campaign. Fagan is encouraging a blizzard of write-in candidates to confuse the issue so much that spelling will be the least of her worries, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Murkowski, write-in, Joe Miller, AlaskaThe Anchorage talk radio host’s prodding sent dozens of people to the state elections office to file as write-ins before the deadline Thursday, the Times reported. Others also reportedly were acting on his suggestion to download write-in applications and fax them to the elections office.

Fagan acknowledged that he hoped the effort would confuse Alaskans who ask for a list of certified write-in candidates before voting.

Murkowski herself has worried about confusion over how to spell her name, even running tutorials and singing jingles to instruct voters. (Her fretting isn’t necessarily just paranoia, as even her own campaign ran an ad telling people to “Visit LisaMurkwski.com.”)

Meanwhile, the 49th state’s Supreme Court was to hear arguments today on whether the lists still can be distributed. On Wednesday, a judge barred the lists as a violation of electioneering laws. But the high court stayed the order.

There has not been a successful write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate since Strom Thurmond won in South Carolina in 1954, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Murkowski’s star is rising in the north while Miller’s is falling, according to a new poll reported today at JuneauEmpire.com. “Write-in” took the top spot, with 34 percent, in the poll from Anchorage's Hays Research Group. Democratic nominee Scott McAdams of Sitka drew second at 29 percent, with Miller at 23 percent. However, the Oct. 25-26 poll also found 13 percent undecided, which could be significant heading into the final weekend of the campaign.

The state Republican Party questioned the results, saying that a union supporting McAdams commissioned the poll.

An earlier Hays poll also pegged Miller at 23 percent, markedly below his tally in other polls. He once appeared to be a runaway winner, but the race has tightened in recent polls, several of which have declared the race a dead heat.

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