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Entries in Alaska (39)

Wednesday
Oct202010

Can Murkowski Make History? Polls Show Tight Alaska Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski was quickly written off when she lost in the Republican primary against Joe Miller. After all, no write-in candidate in Alaska has been successful. But the two-term senator has quickly galloped back in the polls, demonstrating herself as a formidable challenger to Miller, who is struggling with a series of controversies.

Most recent polls show Murkowski trailing Miller by only one-to-two percentage points.

Democratic candidate Scott McAdams is a distant third, although his recent advertising campaign touting his Alaskan roots has boosted him in the polls.

Both Miller and Murkowski have stepped up their assaults, releasing powerful ads touting their own achievements while attacking each other.

While Miller's lead in the polls has shrunk, Murkowski faces a challenging road ahead. Her name is not on the ballot and she only has two more weeks to drive her "Get Out The Vote" campaign.

None of the three candidates who lodged write-in campaigns in Alaska were successful. No Alaskan candidate for statewide office has won more than 27 percent in a write-in campaign, and nationally, only one U.S. senator in history has been elected via a write-in campaign, according to an analysis by the Smart Politics blog.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct152010

Murkowski Receives Endorsement from the Grave?

Photo Courtesy - Lisa Murkowski for US Senate / YouTube(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski released an ad touting an endorsement from Ted Stevens, two months after the longest-serving GOP senator died in a plane crash in Alaska.

The ad could provide a critical boost to Murkowski as she struggles for her political life. The incumbent senator is running as a write-in candidate against Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, who has Sarah Palin's backing. Stevens enjoyed widespread support in Alaska, even after he lost his re-election bid in 2009 amid charges of corruption and ethics violations.

"I trust Lisa and her commitment to keep fighting for us,” Stevens says in the ad. “She's working for Alaska every single day. We need Lisa and the seniority she’s earned now more than ever."

The endorsement was taped July 30, days before Stevens died in a plane crash.

The latest polls show Murkowski virtually tied with Miller, with Democratic contender Scott McAdams trailing closely behind.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct122010

Why Won't Alaska GOP Candidate Answer Personal Questions?

Photo Courtesy - Joe Miller for US Senate(JUNEAU, Alaska) -- Amid questions about Joe Miller’s record as an attorney, the Alaska Republican Senate candidate says he will not answer any more personal questions and accused the media of “journalistic impropriety.”

Speaking to reporters Monday, Miller said he has “drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues -– I’m not going to answer.”

The announcement came on the heels of a report by the Alaska Dispatch that Miller used equipment at the Fairbanks North Star Borough while he was employed there to oust Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich. Two media outlets filed a lawsuit against the borough Monday to release Miller’s employment records.

On Monday, the Tea Party favorite dismissed the claims as the “latest political attack.” Miller resigned as attorney at the borough in September, 2009 after seven years.

“For the final three weeks of this campaign, I am going to talk about the critical issues facing our nation and my ideas to turn things around,” Miller said in a statement to ABC News.

The little-known attorney defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a primary that stunned the Republican establishment. Backed by the Tea Party Express and an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Miller campaigned aggressively against Murkowski and accused her of supporting President Obama’s agenda. He is currently leading in the polls against Murkowski, who is running as a write-in Republican candidate, and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct082010

Alaskans Say More to State Than Sarah Palin, Levi Johnston

Photo Courtesy - Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(WASILLA, Alaska) -- What comes to mind when you think of Alaska politics?

If one's been reading the news this week, dominating the headlines on the Alaska front is the alleged feud between GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller and Sarah Palin's husband Todd.

Then there's the mayor's race in Wasilla, a town of about 7,000 people that was first brought to national attention by Palin, and has been kept in the news by Levi Johnston, the out-of-wedlock father of her grandson.

Johnston, 20, announced in August his intention to run for mayor of Wasilla. His campaign is to be chronicled in a would-be reality show Johnston, who has also posed for Playgirl magazine, is still trying to sell.

"People questioned Jesus Christ, so I definitely don't care about these mere mortals questioning Levi Johnston," his manager, Tank Jones, told reporters when questioned about the seriousness of his candidacy.

In an interview with MSNBC last week, Johnston said he doesn't believe in abstinence, he doesn't read newspapers, doesn't watch TV that often, doesn't think global warming is man-made, and, well, he'll be more ready next year when asked these same questions. The mayoral election is in October, 2011.

"You're kinda getting over my head on these things here," Johnston said when Lawrence O'Donnell asked him for his views on evolution. "Next year I'll be ready."

To many watching the race from afar, it may look like something of a farce. But the people of Wasilla, where the unemployment race is just below the national average of 9.7 percent, are hoping the national spotlight will help bring attention to the issues they are facing.

Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright, who will likely be Johnston's principal opponent next year, blames the federal government for hindering oil and gas exploration in a region that's heavily dependent on drilling.

"We need more help to get on more solid footing here, and one of the things was the oil extraction and the [Trans-Alaska pipeline], and now with the federal moratoriums and interference with it -- well, the only thing I can say is, 'Open up the purse strings man, because you won't let us do it ourselves, then where else are we going to look?'" Rupright said.

The 800-mile long Trans-Alaska pipeline, which opened in 1977, is one of the largest systems in the world. But production on the Alaska's North Slope, where the pipeline originates, has declined and is forecast to dwindle even more in the coming years.

In a state that has no income tax, a decline in oil production means far smaller revenues going into the state's coffers. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct042010

GOP Senate Candidate Wants to Abolish Federal Minimum Wage

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller now has the solid support of the Republican establishment, but in an exclusive interview with ABC News, he makes it clear he's determined to shake up Washington and the Republican party in a big way.

"We aren't going there to play ball, we're going to make sure things get done," Miller said in a wide-ranging interview with Politico's Mike Allen and ABC's Jonathan Karl. Miller wants to roll back the power and size of the federal government to a degree not seen for 70 years or more.

When asked if there should be a federally mandated minimum wage, something that has existed since Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, Miller said, "That is clearly up to the states.  The state of Alaska has a minimum wage which is higher than the federal level because our state leaders have made that determination. The minimum level again should be the state's decision."

Furthermore, in response to whether or not there should be a federal minimum wage, Miller said, "There should not be.  That is not within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Write Off: Mike Castle Won't Pursue Write-In Bid

Photo Caption - House.gov(WILMINGTON, Del.) -- Defeated Delaware Republican Senate contender Rep. Mike Castle announced he would not pursue a write-in bid against fellow Republican Christine O’Donnell and Democrat Chris Coons.

"While I would have been honored to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, I do not believe that seeking office in this manner is in the best interest of all Delawareans," Castle said in a statement. "Therefore, it's time for Jane and me to begin thinking about the next chapter of our lives."

Castle's announcement means he won’t go the way of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, even though the Alaska Republican’s write-in effort appears to be gaining some steam. A CNN poll put GOP nominee Joe Miller’s support at 38 percent, followed by 36 percent for Murkowski and 22 percent for Democrat Scott McAdams, among the state’s likely voters. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Palin: Would 'Offer Myself' if 'Nobody Else Stepped Up'

Image Courtesy - ABC News RadioIn an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin offered some of her most direct comments yet about what it would take for her to launch a presidential bid.

"A reason to run is if nobody else were to step up with the solutions that are needed to get the economy back on the right track and to be so committed to our national security that they are going to do all that they can, including fighting those on the extreme left who seem to want to dismantle some of our national security tools that we have in place,” Palin told Fox's Greta Van Susteren. “If nobody else wanted to step up, Greta, I would offer myself up in the name of service to the public."

Last week Palin traveled to Iowa, a key early primary state, to speak at a major Republican political gathering.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Wednesday
Sep222010

Senate GOP Conference Lets Murkowski Keep Top Energy Panel Slot

(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans Wednesday let Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski keep her post as the party’s top senator on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and elected Wyoming’s John Barrasso to fill her former position as vice-chair of the GOP conference. Murkowski had given up her leadership position as vice-chair of the GOP conference in the wake of her decision to run as a write-in candidate in Alaska after losing her primary fight there. It was widely expected that she would be removed as the top Republican on the energy panel, but Senate Republicans chose not to vote on that issue at a brief closed-door meeting in the Capitol. Murkowski was in Alaska Wednesday and did not attend the meeting.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio. Image Courtesy: ABC News.

Tuesday
Sep212010

GOP Poised to Oust Murkowski from Energy Panel Post

(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans will vote Wednesday on whether to remove Lisa Murkowski as the top GOP senator on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The vote comes in the wake of Murkowski's decision to run as a write-in candidate in Alaska after losing her primary fight to tea party-backed Joe Miller. Mitch McConnell, the Senate's top Republican, said Tuesday, “There’s…an issue as to whether or not it’s appropriate for her, under the circumstances, to continue as ranking member on the Energy Committee.”  Murkowski has already given up her leadership position as vice-chair of the Senate Republican Conference. McConnell said the conference will also vote on a replacement for that post. Murkowski was not present at Tuesday's Senate vote on an annual defense bill that included a repeal of the military’s controversial don’t ask, don’t tell policy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio. Image Courtesy: ABC News.

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