Alaska's Murkowski faces Senate challenge from Sitka mayor

The Anchorage Daily NewsJune 2, 2010 

Tuesday's deadline to file for public office in this year's elections saw Sitka's mayor challenging Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate and Tudor Road Bingo owner Jack Powers announcing for lieutenant governor, pledging to take $1 in salary if elected.

Sitka Democrat Scott McAdams, who filed Tuesday to take on Murkowski, a Republican, suggested Murkowski has allowed partisan political ambitions to get the better of her.

"Sen. Murkowski began her career on the right track for Alaska as a moderate. I have noticed in the last few years Sen. Murkowski has pursued leadership in her party. My primary concern is we keep the ambition of others in Washington, D.C., secondary to the ambition of Alaskan communities," McAdams said Tuesday.

Murkowski has a huge head start, including more than $2 million in campaign cash. The 39-year-old McAdams will have to shoehorn campaigning in whenever he can while keeping up his job as director of community schools for the Sitka School District and his duties as the mayor.

McAdams was elected mayor of the Southeast city in 2008 after serving on the Sitka school board. He says Alaska has chosen small-town leaders before, invoking the "Bush Rat" governor Jay Hammond and former Valdez grocer Bill Egan, who was the first governor after statehood.

Dave Dittman, pollster and political consultant who generally works for Republican candidates, put out a poll in April suggesting 62 percent of Alaskans felt Murkowski should be re-elected -- including 49 percent of Democrats. McAdams said Tuesday he wouldn't doubt those poll numbers.

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