Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lexis-Nexis: Palin AND Murkowski AND Primary

Washington Post, May 26, 2006:

After intense speculation, Alaska Gov. Frank H. Murkowski (R) announced Friday he would seek a second term to continue work on a natural gas pipeline that could become the largest construction effort in the nation.

"There's an unfinished job to do," Murkowski, 73, said, according to the Associated Press. "We've got the momentum, and I want to see it through."

But Murkowski, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, will face a two-pronged primary challenge in August from Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and businessman John Binkley of Fairbanks. The winner of the GOP primary will face either Democratic state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz or Democratic state Rep. Eric Croft in a race the Cook Political Report calls a toss-up.

Murkowski has come under fire for budget cuts early in his term and for appointing his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to his Senate seat.

"Building the gas line is certainly the No. 1 priority of my administration," Murkowski said Friday, according to the AP.

August 21, 2006:
A defeat on Tuesday would make him the fourth incumbent to lose a primary election this month. On Aug. 8, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Rep. John J.H. "Joe" Schwarz (R-Mich.) were defeated in primaries. Murkowski, who has been running third in recent public polls, may be headed for the same fate...

Despite the power of incumbency, Murkowski has struggled to raise money and has trailed former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin and former state senator John Binkley in the battle for the Republican nomination.

Palin has positioned herself as the change candidate. Jean Craciun, an independent pollster, said Palin is drawing support from moderate and independent voters. Binkley, who is largely financing his own campaign, has spent more than $1 million on the primary and has more support from the Republican establishment.

Public polls in July by Craciun and on Aug. 14 by David Dittman, a former Murkowski adviser who quit the campaign several weeks ago, have shown Palin leading, with Binkley second and Murkowski third. Nonetheless, Scott said he thinks Murkowski can win. "What we've got essentially is a horserace," he said.

New York Times, August 23:

Gov. Frank H. Murkowski was decisively defeated in a Republican primary on Tuesday, a loss the governor interpreted as a rejection of his leadership style but one that also echoed an anti-incumbent mood elsewhere in the country.

Mr. Murkowski, 73, a former United States senator who left Washington in his fourth term to run for governor in 2002, won 19 percent of the vote in his bid for a second term, placing third in a three-way race, according to partial results released Wednesday.

42, a former mayor of the little town of Wasilla who rose to prominence as a whistle-blower uncovering ethical misconduct in state government, won the nomination for governor with 51 percent of the vote.

So, a few thoughts:
  1. Even though Palin was in a three-way race, she won with 51 percent against two well-funded candidates, which suggests that she's a strong campaigner. (You don't crack a pure majority just by being likable and new, let alone pull away from a tightly grouped pack with institutional weight behind it.)
  2. The natural gas pipeline, which she often gets credit for supporting against the interests of the oil companies, was Murkowski's project, and well underway. Moreover, she supported it in her campaign. It may have been tough to turn her backs on her supporters in the oil companies, but it would have been even tougher if she hadn't. Alaska voters had already tossed one governor out on his ear.
  3. The news media and the Obama campaign would be wise to look at exactly how Palin won this primary and the subsequent election.


Dan said...

Smart sloothing, Tim. I have no idea who this Sarah Palin is, but I suppose I should.

Steve said...

Possibly the best political bio of Sarah Palin anywhere (the other six or seven are seemingly clipped from Wikipedia):