DrewM argues that it’s no big deal for the NRSC to intervene on Murkowski’s behalf because, after all, she’s an incumbent and that’s what the NRSC is for. Is it, though? Here’s their mission statement:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is the only political committee solely dedicated to electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate.
What We Do:
The NRSC provides invaluable support and assistance to current and prospective Republican U.S. Senate candidates in the areas of budget planning, election law compliance, fundraising, communications tools and messaging, research and strategy.
Nothing in there about incumbents. If, as seems clear, the goal of the Committee is to defeat Democrats, why they should have any preference in a primary — especially one where two Republicans are separated by one percent — is beyond me. Drew counters that, as a sitting senator, Murkowski’s partly responsible for raising money for the NRSC and therefore should be able to call on its resources, but again, that’s not what the Committee is supposed to be for. If incumbents want to start a National Incumbent Committee and raise money for themselves that way, fine; as it is, fundraising on the NRSC’s behalf is ostensibly done for all Republican candidates in the name of the betterment of the party. How does Murkowski have a stronger claim to that than Miller? Besides, not all of the NRSC’s money is a product of incumbents showing up for fundraising events. They have an online donation page for small donors just like every other political group nowadays (note that the photos on the page are all of Democrats, not Republican incumbents), and in any event, given the enthusiasm among the base this year for “true conservatives” like Miller, I wouldn’t be surprised to find more support for him than for Murkowski among NRSC donors.
So no, I still don’t get why the NRSC is helping her out. Neither does Erick Erickson, who hears that she’s angling to make a deal with the Libertarian Party in exchange for a huge donation even as an NRSC lawyer is on his way up there to help her with the next steps in the GOP primary. Which, by the way, is still winnable for her: Fully 20,000 absentee or “questioned” ballots, most of them Republican, remain to be counted and she only needs to net 1,700 votes to win. (Remember, Miller surged late in the race so early absentee voters might favor Murkowski.) But in case the absentees don’t come through for her, old Palin nemesis Andrew Halcro has reportedly commissioned a poll for this weekend showing how Murkowski would fare in a three-way race if she joined the Libertarians. And the Libertarians themselves seem increasingly open to the idea:
[Alaska Libertarian Party Chairman Scott] Kohlhaas said he has no illusions about the fact that Murkowski is not a Libertarian, but says that having her run as one would be a way to get more publicity for the Party and possibly help the Party gain seats in state legislatures. “There are 7,000 state legislative seats out there and we don’t have one,” he said. “As far as getting the name out there, this episode is doing that much better than any one state legislative seat would. And in terms of morale for our Party a state [senator] would be a real gain for us.”
At the end of the day Kohlaas recognizes that having Murkowski run as a member of the Libertarian Party would certainly “confuse some people because she is not libertarian.”
“But that happens all the time. Our job is to educate and get the philosophy out there,” he said. “If we decide to do this it will advance the Party and believe me we won’t do this for nothing.”
If I had to bet, I’d bet heavily that she’ll be on the ballot in November. One way or another.
Update: Sorry, it was DrewM who wrote the post at Ace’s, not Gabe Malor. I fixed the post to correct the error.