The approval of Measure 2, a parental notification law for teens seeking abortions, is huge news in the state of Alaska. But even bigger news is the likely loss of incumbent GOP senator Lisa Murkowski to her primary challenger Joe Miller. Although the votes are still being counted, it is trending that Miller will be the one running for senate for the party, and many people think a key factor in the race was abortion politics.
Which kind of Alaska Republican was most motivated for this primary? The answer appears to be the populist, evangelical, anti-abortion Republicans who are likely to identify with the movement known as the Tea Party.
Murkowski had a vulnerability within her own party because she was a supporter of abortion rights in some cases. While abortion views are divided in Alaska as elsewhere, opposition to abortion is more concentrated in the Republican Party. And this week’s ballot featured a voter measure on requiring parental notification prior to an abortion for a minor. Murkowski endorsed the measure, but the anti-abortion activists who came out to vote for it may well have preferred Miller’s anti-abortion credentials overall.
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Politics and World News Blog agrees:
The issue could be Ballot Measure #2, which is a controversial potential law that would make it necessary for a parent to be notified if their child was going to have an abortion in the state.
Many Republicans gave to the campaign for the measure. Murkowski did not, which leads many to believe that she’s against the measure. She could also be for the measure, but hoping that her silence over the issue would gain her some liberal voters. Such antics are not popular with voters.
Oddly enough, it may have been a campaign finance issue that kept her from more vocally supporting the measure, and hence losing the race. From the Miami Herald:
Murkowski’s campaign said the senator supported Measure 2 and went to two fundraisers for it. But her campaign lawyer advised that she couldn’t let Alaskans for Parental Rights use her name in its materials, because that would amount to an illegal campaign contribution to her, under federal election law, according to an e-mailed copy of the analysis.
Still, this may not be the last we have heard from the senator, who could toy with the idea of a third party run for her seat, some bloggers contend:
A third party or independent run for office may be in Murkowski’s cards. In truth, Alaska stands to lose a lot if Miller is elected. Right now, Murkowski is very influential and able to get a lot of money back to her home state, which gets almost six dollars back for every one dollar it sends to Washington.
NPR, however, states that an independent run in much less likely, although definitely possible.
BLOCK: Lisa Murkowski still thinking that she can make a comeback through the absentee ballots. But if that doesn’t come to pass, can she run on a third party? Can she run on the Libertarian line and as an independent?
Ms. CASEY: It’s an excellent question we’re all asking. At a press conference yesterday, she said it’s not time to explore that yet. She still has hope.
She cannot get on the ballot as an independent. The opportunity for that is closed. It’s too late. She could, however, align herself with the Libertarian Party, which has a slot on the ballot. If their candidate would step down, she could get on. It would be an interesting sort of partnership, an alignment to forge. She could also run as a write-in.
The question is would she? Senator Murkowski is a very loyal Republican. This is her base. And so I think it would be a tough call. It could be, though, a potentially mavericky move, maybe taking a cue from Sarah Palin. And Murkowski could make a big difference if she still ran because the Democrat is very little known. He’s not a big name in Alaska. And yesterday, in fact, he was appealing to Murkowski supporters, hey, come over and vote for me.
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