Washington Dems Put AK Race In Play At Last Minute

Washington Democrats are raising funds to go on the offensive in the endgame of the three-way Alaska Senate race.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the arm of the Democratic Party tasked with electing Democrats to the Senate, released an email Saturday to raise $175,000 to support Democrat Scott McAdams’ campaign.

“How would you like to plant the Democratic flag in Sarah Palin’s backyard?” asks the email from DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch. “We have a real shot at winning Alaska with polls showing we’re now ahead of the Tea Party candidate. This would be a major blow to Sarah Palin (I’m told you can see Russia from her house) and the Tea Party, who expected to waltz to victory.”

The mayor of Sitka, Alaska, McAdams reportedly had been running third against tea-party favorite and GOP nominee Joe Miller and incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Miller upended Murkowski in the August primary to take the GOP nomination away from Murkowski. Murkowski, however, did not give up, and instead has launched a write-in campaign to win her second full term on Tuesday. Murkowski was first appointed to her seat in 2002 by her father, the former senator and governor Frank Murkowski. Lisa Murkowski went on to win her first full term in 2004. She currently is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The campaign McAdams has been running had not been a priority for support from Washington Democrats, but that is changing, the DSCC email says.

Poersch calls the potential for an Alaska pickup a “late-breaking opportunity, [which is why] it wasn’t in our budget.

“Although we can pull this off if we get $175,000 in the door today. We’ve got the ads on the air and the turnout operation on the ground. This win would be huge,” Poersch’s email adds.

Alaska usually leans overwhelmingly Republican. However, Miller has seen his lead slip in a series of missteps, including revelations that he was punished, and then lied about it, regarding to using state government computers for political purposes. Miller’s security team also handcuffed a journalist seeking to interview the candidate.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin endorsed Miller in the primary and continues to support his candidacy.

If McAdams were to pull off his upset on Tuesday, he would be the second Alaska Democrat elected to the Senate in as many years. Sen. Mark Begich defeated incumbent Republican Ted Stevens in the 2008 election.

Stevens had been convicted on corruption charges, which were were later thrown out. Stevens was killed this year in an aircraft crash in Alaska.

The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.

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