The abortion issue may have cost embattled U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski an untold number of votes Tuesday to Republican primary challenger Joe Miller, say anti-abortion activists.
The ballot also included a sharply contested voter initiative generally requiring parents to be notified before their teen receives an abortion. Miller came out strongly for Ballot Measure 2.
“He told voters over and over again: Flip your ballot over, vote ‘yes on 2.’ Before you vote for me, vote ‘yes on 2.’ Ballot Measure 2 is much more important than this Senate race,” said Bernadette Wilson, campaign manager for Alaskans for Parental Rights, the “yes on 2” group.
Murkowski never did the same, Wilson said. All the other statewide Republican candidates gave money to the effort. Murkowski didn’t, Wilson said. Supporters of the parental notification requirement noticed, she said.
Murkowski’s campaign said the senator supported Measure 2 and went to two fundraisers for it. But her campaign lawyer advised that she couldn’t let Alaskans for Parental Rights use her name in its materials, because that would amount to an illegal campaign contribution to her, under federal election law, according to an e-mailed copy of the analysis.