Senate Primary Election

By Dave Donaldson

The major candidates for U-S Senate are about a third of the way into this year’s Primary Election season – and the next two months indicate that voters will have a lot of things to consider when they go to the polls. 

The race attracting the most attention so far this year is the Republican Primary – with statewide newcomer Joe Miller challenging Incumbent Lisa Murkowski,  who’s up for re-election.

Miller has been campaigning on a nationally based theme that solving the country’s problems will only come from a change in national leadership.  He says he’s getting a good response to his message.   And he says people see him as the answer to the nation’s economic problems.

This is not a uniquely Alaskan response.  I think throughout the nation – as you can see in these primary election battles – incumbents being thrown out primarily because they are targeted as the problem.   They have brought us to this financial crisis.  They are unable to have the leadership necessary to bring us out of it.  And people are looking for those that come outside of the system  that are interested in the Constitutional approach – which is a much more limited government approach – than what we’ve seen over the last few decades.

Miller says Murkowski does not have the answer to national economic issues –and his answer to those issues is to restrict government, stop its growth, and “get the fiscal house in order by not spending more money.”

Miller has been to Barrow and Bethel and has a busy travel schedule to other parts of  rural Alaska planned before the election.  He says he is being “aggressive” in the bush – and says his campaign is built by the people who volunteer to help him – wherever they come from.

Senator Murkowski was working at the Capitol and preparing for a trip to Alaska this weekend,  but her re-election spokesman Steve Wackowski calls Miller’s campaign “doom and gloom” that doesn’t consider the work Murkowski has done.  He says the Senator has fought the meteoric growth of government for a long time.

She voted against Obama’s stimulus package, voted against the stimulus bill.  She thinks that we need to create jobs, not bigger government here in this country.   But the greatest asset we have in America is our freedoms, and we can pull through this.  This is the land of optimism.

But Congress is not limited to one subject.  They also deal with local and personal issues such as native issues, land claims, veterans’ issues.  Wackowski says while the Senator  sees the economy at the heart of the campaign, she knows that being a Senator goes beyond that.

She views it as her job.  If people, the Federal Government made promises to people because either they have served or paid into social security,  she make sure the federal government follows through with its promises.

Miller sees the national economy as the overriding issue –to be dealt with even in consideration of other needs.

Anything that involves government expenditures is all going to be subject to cut.  And I think Alaskans and Americans as a whole are willing to do some belt-tightening to get this fiscal house back in order.   So, I don’t have a specific plan for any of those issues that you mentioned.  But I will tell you that there is virtually not a program that is not going to have to have some fiscal limitation.

The winner of that primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary.  Scott McAdams is working for that place on the November ballot.   He says it’s all local.  And that’s what he’s promoting as he travels the state.  McAdams says Alaska is based on energy – new oil development,  gas,  renewable energy.  But he says it doesn’t stop there.

We also continue to go out and make the case for why everyone of our towns, everyone of our communities matters.  Why it’s important that our commercial fisheries are advanced at the national level,  that our next Senator from Alaska understands that small town fishermen are more important that corporate lobbyists.  And you know, we’re making progress, we’re talking to a lot of folks and we’re changing hearts and minds one voter at a time.

McAdams is mayor of Sitka,  and it was obvious to him a month ago that he was not well-recognized beyond there.   But he says he’s making progress and he’ll be prepared for whomever the Republicans choose.

The party primary elections will take place August 24th.


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