At first glance Lisa Murkowski’s Republican Primary election victory seems pretty impressive. But it is anything but the grand comeback story the Establishment media would have you believe.
Consider the competition.
Paul Kendall, local political activist, conspiracy buff, and self-acclaimed expert of all things futuristic. Nobody considers him a serious candidate, and I mean nobody. Yet he received almost 8% of the vote. No campaign, no advertising, a website that still reads “under construction” the day after the election. He wouldn’t even respond to media questions about his campaign platform.
Thomas Lamb, blue collar worker, Air Force veteran, local blogger, unsuccessful candidate for the Alaska State House, and all around good guy. But his campaign consisted of a few scattershot radio ads and social media. He garnered between 5-6% percent of the vote.
Bob Lochner, a veteran and former mechanic who works on the North Slope. He didn’t have a traditional campaign, and spent a grand total of about $20K, reportedly most of it on signs, pocket Constitutions, and campaign expenses. Unlike his fellow challengers, Bob had the good fortune of being from the Mat-Su Valley where the highest concentration of conservatives in the state reside. He garnered a very respectable 15%.
All good men I’m sure, but the obvious truth is that Lisa Murkowski didn’t have a legitimate challenger. Still almost 29% of the electorate from her own party wouldn’t vote for the sitting US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair in a state whose lifeblood is the energy industry, and that doesn’t include those who voted and chose to leave the Senate portion of their ballot blank.
So what do the numbers really say? I’m glad you asked.
Lisa Murkowski decided to run against her party’s nominee in the last cycle, ostensibly because only a small number of Alaskans voted for the nominee and that sample wasn’t representative of the state. Joe Miller’s 55,878 votes were only 11.5% of registered voters at the time. So maybe she had a point?
Well, neither of Alaska’s sitting US Senators have ever won that many votes in a Republican primary, nor represented that much of the electorate in a general election. (Dan Sullivan received 44,740 votes, 9% of registered voters in 2014.
In 2004 Lisa Murkowski won a contested primary with – wait for it – 45,710 votes, just 9.98% of registered voters.
Fast forward to 2016. With 99.8% of precincts reporting, Lisa Murkowski cruises to an overwhelming landslide victory with 71% percent of the vote – drumroll – and a grand total of 35,208 votes, just 6.8% of registered Alaska voters.
And that was after she spent an astonishing $4.6 million, or over $130 per vote!
Not since 1974 when Alaska dominated by Democrats and Mike Gravel was a sitting United States Senator has a Republican nominee won less votes. Joe Miller’s 32% second place finish in the three-way 2014 primary garnered more votes.
Clearly, by Senator Murkowski’s standards, this is not a legitimate outcome, and clearly isn’t representative of the Alaska electorate.
Perhaps Alaskans deserve another choice in the general election. After all, isn’t that the gospel according to Lisa Murkowski?