A peace offering from the NRSC to the conservative base after this past week’s … “unpleasantness.” The meme du jour, per that PPP poll I mentioned earlier, is that Miller’s vulnerable in the general if he ends up beating Murkowski. Here’s the NRSC’s attempt to pour some cold water on that, even as Democrats scramble to make a race of it by rallying behind McAdams.
A new survey conducted for the NRSC shows Miller leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) by a 52%-36% margin. And other metrics in the Last Frontier skew the race heavily in Miller’s favor, even after other surveys show he begins his race as an unpopular contender.
Fully 57% say they want a GOPer to provide a check and balance over Pres. Obama, while only 33% want a Dem to help pass the WH agenda. Obama’s job approval ratings clock in at just 40%, while 53% disapprove.
The top of the ticket will benefit GOPers as well. Gov. Sean Parnell (R) has a wide lead over ex-state House Min. Leader Ethan Berkowitz (D), besting the Dem by a 54%-40% margin.
I’m trying to work my pessimism mojo here but even I can’t come up with a reason to think McAdams can beat Miller in a fair fight. Until Mark Begich defeated Ted Stevens two years ago, Alaska hadn’t had a Democrat in Congress since 1981, and even with a Stevens ethics scandal and an Obama wave to ride, Begich won by less than one percent. For a lefty or center-lefty to win up north, everything has to break right, and that ain’t happening this year with the big red tsunami on its way. But as I say, that’s assuming a fair fight. What if Murkowski loses the primary and then does the unthinkable by … endorsing McAdams? Remember, she gets hefty chunks of support among Republicans and independents in a hypothetical three-way race. If McAdams makes a big show of being a centrist (which he’ll certainly do, running as a Democrat in a red state), Murkowski could turn around and claim that he’s the only “mainstream” candidate who’ll “deliver for Alaska” or whatever. That would make things very hard.
Which is why, perhaps, it’s time for Miller’s people to dial down the rhetoric about vote tampering. The more bitter this gets, the more dangerous Murkowski becomes if she loses. Or have we already reached the point where it’s bound to be bitter no matter what happens next? Fox News:
Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai told FoxNews.com that the campaigns have dispatched observers to all five counting locations — Juneau, Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Nome…
But the campaigns — and their attorneys — will have the opportunity to call for a recount after the vote is certified. The recount itself is generally a tedious process where campaigns can challenge ballots over the way they’re filled out and other contentions. The process draws out even more if the campaigns go to court to challenge the state, as was the case in the disputed Minnesota Senate election in which Al Franken was ultimately declared the winner over former Norm Coleman.
In Alaska, if the race is a tie, the recount is automatic. If the candidates’ vote tallies are within .5 percent of each other, then the state will pay for a recount, though somebody has to request one.
Things could drag on for a good long while and every day that they do is a gift to McAdams. In fact, the most productive thing the NRSC can do now is try to broker some agreement between the parties that whoever loses the final count will simply concede and get out of the winner’s way (although an endorsement would, of course, be ideal). Imagine the disastrous optics of Miller trying to campaign against McAdams while battling Murkowski in court, with no one sure who the nominee is until the appeals are exhausted. Total nightmare. In that scenario, I’d be surprised if McAdams didn’t win.
Exit question: Are we headed for this in Delaware soon too?