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.”
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.”
Kohlhaas said that it will ultimately be up to David Hasse to decide if he would be willing to step aside.
“Yesterday, he was inclined to do this but today maybe not,” Kohlhaas said.
When TheDC spoke with Haase, the Libertarian candidate refused to respond to questions about the Murkowski rumors, deflecting questions with rejoinders about mercantilism and fiat currency.
“You know I am in real estate and you never answer a ‘would-ya-take’ question,” he said refusing to answer any hypothetical.
Haase is sure that it is a moot point anyway.
“I suspect Lisa will make up the difference with absentee ballots,” he said.
The winner of the GOP primary race will face Democrat nominee Scott McAdams in the November election.