Politics

Libertarians weigh Murkowski run

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

Alaska’s GOP Senate primary remains too close to call, with Tea Party candidate Joe Miller maintaining a slight 1,668 vote edge over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Murkowski is refusing to concede until all the absentee ballots have been counted. “It ain’t over yet, folks,” Murkowski said at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage. “There are thousands of absentees that are yet to come in.”

While Murkowski fights on, there are rumblings that should she ultimately lose her primary contest she will try to return to the Senate through another avenue. Since the deadline to file as an independent has already past, Murkowski has two options: to either run as a write-in candidate or to run as the Libertarian Party candidate — which would require convincing the current candidate, David Haase, to withdrawal.

The Daily Beast is reporting that a source close to the Murkowski campaign has said that the candidate is seriously considering running on a third party ticket.

Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, told The Daily Caller that Murkowski hardly fits the Libertarian Party mould. “As far as I’m concerned if Murkowski is for bringing our troops home and for ending the war on drugs and if she voted against the TARP bailout and she is for reducing spending then maybe she could earn a spot on the Libertarian ballot,” he said. “But my understanding is that she voted for the TARP bailout and that is just insanely un-Libertarian.”

Scott Kohlhaas, state chairman for the Libertarian Party of Alaska, told TheDC that a number of things have to happen before any decision is made. “Rumors are flying but I really have no comment on them because, I mean, Lisa would have to decide to do it and then our candidate would have to decide to voluntarily step down [and] then our executive committee would have to vote on a decision.”

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.”

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  • libertariancomment

    Hey, Kohlhaas! The whole point of being a Libertarian is that we don’t do that kind of thing, we are the “Party of Principle”, remember? As for how to win elections, well let’s see, first you have to build name recognition, then you have to define yourself, then you have to put your opponent on defense in segments of the population that you think you can win over. I mean, you know, by campaigning.

    The Libertarians need to take a different tact. If we were to take the resources we piss away every year and focus our efforts on one state or a small set of elections, well, then we might actually get to govern a little bit and show how we are different. Look what Ron Paul has been able to do about getting the Fed better known and the popularity he has a result. Of course, he’s a Republican, but the parts of his message that have resonate longer are those that are currently relevant, particularly in younger people who are really freaked out right now. Talk to a recent college grad, you’ll find out just how bad it is. Programs that used to see 80% or better job offer/placement for grads are seeing more like 10% now. It’s devastating, and this delayed start is something that’s very hard to ever make up. To make matters worse, they are graduating with obscene amounts of debt which puts them even farther behind the starting line. They can surely be lured away from Obama in large numbers.

    I also think that the Republicans are far weaker now than they look. I interpret the electorate as being sick to death of both parties. In the Republican party, we have to be able to pick off some of the socially liberal ones. The Tea Party is best understood as a fundamentalist Christian political movement, and you know that they and the LiBeckitarian types (you know the Libertarians who want to fight the drug war and Iraq) have scared away many intelligent, socially modern Republicans – who are also very freaked out by the economy. I think the same is true of moderate Democrats – you know, the ones who weren’t Marxists in college?

    Think about it, in many ways Libertarian policies allow for a common ground for both parties to meet on. We should sell the shit out of that, and we should also say that in a Libertarian society, Progressives could form collectivist communities and Christian fundamentalists could build theirs. I wouldn’t want to live in either, but they would have much greater resources at their disposal to fashion a world that they want to live in, but they just couldn’t enforce it with the power of the state. Sounds like a fair deal to me? But do you ever hear that kind of positioning from Libertarians?

    No, instead we are stuck explaining the gold standard, or arguing for legalizing drugs. It’s Communications 101 to control an agenda – and you can’t do that without a strong organization supporting a candidate. So, most Libertarians candidates are doomed from the start. This is why we show much higher support for our positions than for the party, it’s because nobody thinks we can win because we come off as amateurs. It’s why I don’t help – every time I try to stick my nose in, I rapidly become nauseous.

    My point is that there are lots of ways to get elected, but the fundamental question for Libertarians is always resources.

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  • snowsoul

    So, Libertarian Party are looking at sacrificing convictions on how the government should be run while in the process of nominating a politician who will do nothing more than hand the senate to a democrat?

    Yeah, sounds about right. Everyone else has abandoned their platforms in favor of bigger government, why shouldn’t the Libertarians?

  • mcgirv

    What the hell kind of Libertarians are they?

  • truebearing

    If Murkowski is a progressive, and she is, then she is to the left of Miller, and way to the left of Libertarianism. So how could the Libertarian Party nit wits even consider such a doctrinal suicide? What the hell do they stand for, power at all costs? Methinks they are Marxists wearing Libertarian clothes.

  • gekkobear

    “having her run as one would be a way to get more publicity”
    …”this episode is doing that much better than any one state legislative seat would.” … “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”

    He’s right. Lately I’ve not thought much about the libertarian party.

    But if they do this, I’ll know for sure they’re political whores for sale to the highest bidder, no questions asked, no principles stand in the way of whoring for money and fame.

    Actually the fact that they’re looking at selling the party name for some cash and press explains who and what they are.

    New slogans:
    Alaska Libertarian party; when the normal political whores are just too expensive.
    Alaska Libertarian party; we’ll do anything you want for a price… Anything.
    Alaska Libertarian party; we only have principles if they don’t cost us anything.
    Alaska Libertarian Party; Libertarian is optional; we’re just looking for a party.