ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Libertarian Party says it does not want Lisa Murkowski as its candidate.
Murkowski now has few options if she cannot gain enough absentee votes to win the race against Republican front-runner Joe Miller.
According to the Libertarian Party, the worst thing it can do is to support a candidate that does not represent Libertarian values.
Many voters speculated that a run under the Libertarian Party was Murkowski's last shot at winning back her seat, but Libertarian leaders say that won't happen.
“I wanted to make it clear that Lisa Murkowski's campaign, or Lisa Murkowski herself never contacted us. This was like a Seinfeld program, a show about nothing,” said Scott Kohlhaas, Alaska Libertarian Party chairman.
Kohlhaas called an emergency meeting this past weekend, in which members decided unanimously not to support Murkowski.
“It’s tough enough educating people about our principals, you know? We don't need somebody out there who doesn't understand our principles, or doesn't believe in them, claiming they're Libertarian,” Kohlhaas said.
According to Kohlhaas, Libertarians don't like that Murkowski voted in favor of Wall Street bailouts or her vote to raise the minimum wage. They say her record does not support the Libertarian value of strict neutrality.
Murkowski put out a statement Monday which read, “While I'm aware that Alaskans concerned about the future of our state are talking about a possible third-party candidacy, this talk is not coming from my campaign."
Murkowski goes on to say, "I am focused on the remaining ballots and the final vote count. I would encourage Mr. Miller to do the same."
Almost 1,700 votes separate Miller and Murkowski, but that number is expected to change as the division of elections starts counting roughly 1,600 absentee ballots.
“I think it's going very smoothly. I mean, we have a great staff and we have members on our absentee and question review board that have been doing this for years and they really know what they're doing,” said Gail Fenumiai, Alaska Division of Elections.
But the Miller campaign is already raising concerns.
A Miller campaign Attorney, Thomas Van Flein, sent a letter to the lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asking that the state investigate possible vote tampering by an observer for the Murkowski campaign.
Van Flein claims the observer accessed a state computer and may have copied voter information.
The Murkowski campaign says the allegations are blatantly false. Nonetheless, Van Flein is requesting state troopers be posted at elections offices as workers count absentee votes. The lieutenant governor's office says it will initiate a full review of the matter.
The state says ballots and voter information are secure and that the allegations do not necessitate assigning state troopers to oversee absentee vote counting, which begins Tuesday morning at 9:00.
The Division of Elections said it hopes to update its website with new numbers around 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. Their target date to certify the primary election with final numbers is September 17.
Since Murkowski has no chance of running as a third-party candidate, her only option to regain her seat is as a write-in candidate.
Contact Ted Land at firstname.lastname@example.org