Opinion

Commentary: Lisa Murkowski's options

It's possible Sen. Lisa Murkowski will win the Republican primary election, but the road to victory is challenging. By now, she must be contemplating what she will do if Joe Miller prevails after the final count.

She can:

• Accept the voters' verdict. This would require nothing more than a fold-up-your-tent press conference at which she thanks Alaskans for allowing her to serve and thanks her staff for their hard work. She could save the question of whether to endorse Miller for another day.



• Launch a write-in. She has the money and other campaign resources, but history is against her. Only one U.S. senator has been elected as a write-in -- Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1954. Wally Hickel tried a write in against Gov. Jay Hammond in 1978 and lost. It's incredibly difficult to get tens of thousands of people scattered over tens of thousands of square miles to write in your name, especially when some of them don't speak English, plus some voters will find the spelling test daunting: M U R K O W S K I. Better to be named Miller in a write in.



Who would prevail in a three-way contest? Polling suggests the race would be close, but in truth, nobody knows what would happen during a two-month campaign.

First of all, what kind of candidate will Democrat Scott McAdams make and what kind of campaign will he run? The guess is he will have money -- from Washington, mostly -- and find competent staffers, but he has never been on a large stage before as the mayor of Sitka, and who knows how he will perform under the greatest pressure of his life. Then there's this question: Would the Alaska voters, given their hostility to President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party, actually put two Democrats in the United States Senate?

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