After losing primary to Tea Party candidate, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to run as a write-in 

Well, so much for party unity:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will run for re-election as a write-in candidate after losing her bid for renomination, according to sources briefed on Murkowski’s decision.

Murkowski’s decision will set up a 3-way battle between the incumbent, Miller and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D), potentially turning the race on its head. Private 3-way polling has shown Miller leading, but by a narrow margin.

Murkowski will make the formal announcement tonight in Anchorage. She has been mulling her options after losing to attorney Joe Miller (R) by 1.8% — or about 2K votes out of 110K cast.

Does she really think she can win? Murkowski’s rationale for continuing on seems a bit thin:

“Believe you me, the easier path would be to pack it all up and go do something different,” she said. “If I had not heard this call from Alaskans, I would not be deliberating as I am.”

Few statewide write-in campaigns are successful and no U.S. senator has pulled one off since South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond in 1954. If she were to do it, five other people — including Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams — would be on the ballot. Murkowski would not and voters would have to write in her name.

Yes, Alaskans looked at the prospect of no longer having a multi-generational, establishment Republican political dynasty in the Senate and came calling: “Lisa! Don’t abandon us!” In the year of the Tea Party, that sounds exactly like what voters in a Republican state would do.

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Mark Hemingway

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