AK Sen: Operation Chaos Produces Hundreds of Write-In Candidates

The last week of the Senate race in Alaska has been pretty chaotic. Continuing revelations about Joe Miller have led to him tumbling in the polls. Sarah Palin returned home to throw some Mean Girls-inspired insults at Lisa Murkowski, calling the Republican incumbent an “out-of-touch” liberal. With the dynamics of the race changing so fast, Murkowski started attacking Democrat Scott McAdams and so did the NRSC on behalf of Miller; the polls show McAdams surging more than anyone else in the race. (Murkowski is also still targeting Miller down the stretch; the most recent ad hits Miller for his goon squad handcuffing a journalist.)

Meanwhile, yesterday was the deadline for write-in candidates to register with the Division of Elections. Because Alaska officials say that they’ll determine a write-in vote based on the intent of the voter, one right-wing DJ had the notion that a lot of people should sign up as a write-in to confuse that intent and also make it harder for Murkowski to be found on write-in ballot listings. That’s just what happened:

In a movement one pro-Sarah Palin website is calling “Operation Alaska Chaos,” at least 100 people filed paperwork Thursday to register as write-in candidates in the U.S. Senate election, according to the Division of Elections.

A stream of would-be senators filtered through the elections office in Midtown Anchorage late in the day, many saying the effort is meant to protest an order by the Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday allowing a list of write-in candidates to be shown to voters who ask for assistance.

The court action is expected to aid Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s write-in bid and amounts to electioneering by the state, say supporters of Republican nominee Joe Miller. The idea of a mass registration is to create a long list of potential write-in choices and make it harder for voters to find Murkowski’s name.

At last count, there are now about 150 Alaskans filed as a write-in candidate for Senate. They include these names:

Lisa M. Lackey
Lyn Marcum
Tom M.
Lee Hamerski

A misspelled “Lisa Murkowski” is unlikely to bear too much resemblance to any of those names, but you can bet that some lawyer will try to argue that.

Meanwhile, McAdams, who has benefited from being above the fray in this race, responded strongly to Murkowski’s attack ad belittling his service as Mayor of Sitka:

She’s changed. Voting against everything from dredging Alaska’s harbors, to suicide prevention in the Arctic.

Now she’s attacking Scott McAdams because he takes a low mayoral salary. She thinks unless you collect a big, taxpayers’ salary, your job isn’t worth anything. But Scott McAdams increased school funding, saved a hospital, and created jobs.

Lisa, public service is measured in results, not a paycheck.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is reportedly going up with last-minute ads, sensing an opportunity. It’s going to be a wild finish.

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David Dayen

David Dayen