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Senate polls today: GA IN KS OH WI RSS
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News from the Votemaster            

Murkowski to Run for the Senate as a Write-in Candidate     Permalink

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who recently lost her bid for renomination to tea party favorite Joe Miller (R), has decided not to go gentle into that long Alaska night. She is continuing her senatorial campaign, now as a write-in candidate. While some people (including a lot of Democrats) are cheering her on, one person, Gail Fenumiai, is probably crying. As director of the State of Alaska Division of Elections, she is going to have to decide whether "Lisa," "Lisa M.," "Murkowsky," "Senator M.," "Liza Murcowsky," "Eliza Mircowsky," and a whole lot of votes are valid or not. State law says that incorrectly spelled write-ins count if the intent of the voter can be determined, but that is always a judgement call. When Shelley Sekula-Gibbs ran for Tom Delay's House seat in 2006, a bipartisan panel came up with 28 pages of acceptable aliases. If the race is close, the resulting court battle court will rival Franken-Coleman, but focus more on spelling and penmanship than the Minnesota battle did.

Right-wing pundits and bloggers are infuriated with her, pointing out that when conservative Chuck DeVore lost to Carly Fiorina in California, he accepted the defeat and when conservative Ovide Lamontagne lost narrowly to Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, he didn't even ask for the recount he was legally entitled to but simply endorsed her as the winner. The message is that when conservatives lose, they accept defeat and graciously concede but when moderates lose, they refuse to accept the will of the people.

No doubt three-way polls will start showing up soon. The situation most analogous to this is the 2006 Senate race in which Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) lost the Democratic primary and got on the ballot as an Independent Democrat, eventually beating the Democratic primary winner, Ned Lamont and the hapless Republican, Alan Schlesinger. However, there are a couple of key differences. First, Lieberman was actually on the ballot, so voting for him was easy to do (at least technically). In Alaska, people are actually going to have to write Murkowski's name in, and if she wins, there will be probably be a court fight afterwards in which the runner-up tries to disqualify misspelled votes for her one at a time. Second, in Connecticut, the Republican Party sat this one out and just hoped Lieberman would beat Lamont. Here, the Democratic Party is likely to perceive that if Miller and Murkowski split the vote evenly, then Sitka mayor Scott McAdams (D) might actually be able to squeak through. Third, while Connecticut is an extemely expensive state to advertise in, Alaska is very cheap, so a little bit of outside money goes a long way there. Fourth, unlike the Connecticut general election, which was basically a two-way race, this will be a genuine three-way race and both Murkowski and McAdams are going to be harping on the same theme: that Miller is an extremist, far outside the mainstream of Alaskan politics. It may or may not be close, but it certainly will be exciting. Alaska politics haven't been in the news since, well, 2009, when then-governor Sarah Palin resigned the governorship. As an aside, while many people said she would be forever branded a quitter and that was the end of her political career, in retrospect it was a brilliant move. She is no longer stuck in Juneau, making over $10 million a year, and a bigger star than ever before.

2012 Presidential Race Getting Started Already     Permalink

Normally candidates for the presidency wait until the January following the midterm elections to get started, but this time so many Republicans are chomping at the bit that the race is beginning much earlier than usual. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker at the annual Ronald Reagan dinner in Iowa yesterday and praised the tea party members who she has supported for Congress. She was coy about her own presidential aspirations, however.

Other Republicans were less coy. The Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit started yesterday. This event is the main preseason gathering of the religious right, which now suddenly finds itself in competition with the tea party movement for attention. Speakers included potential 2012 candidates Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Mike Pence, but the star of the show was the new GOP senatorial candidate in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, who gave an emotional speech telling people that they were important, despite the media's ignoring them. "We are victims" is a common theme among this crowd, and O'Donnell's bringing this up brought tears to many eyes. What she didn't say, but most people understood, is that the tea party has been railing about the new health-insurance law and the federal deficit, pushing the subjects of abortion and keeping gays in the closet, to the back burner, much to the dismay of those in attendance. The conference holds a straw poll asking attendees who they want as the GOP nominee next time. While it has little effect on the actual race, the winner gets bragging rights until the next major news event.

Today's Polls: GA IN KS OH WI     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Ind. I-pct Start End Pollster
Georgia Mike Thurmond 33% Johnny Isakson* 52%     Sep 15 Sep 15 Mason Dixon
Georgia Mike Thurmond 34% Johnny Isakson* 52%     Sep 16 Sep 16 Insider Advantage
Indiana Brad Ellsworth 34% Dan Coats 50%     Sep 14 Sep 15 Rasmussen
Kansas Lisa Johnston 24% Jerry Moran 66%     Sep 14 Sep 16 SurveyUSA
Ohio Lee Fisher 35% Rob Portman 55%     Sep 09 Sep 14 Quinnipiac U.
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 44% Ron Johnson 51%     Sep 15 Sep 15 Rasmussen

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