Sore Loser or Untraditional Winner?

Posted on September 30, 2010 by

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Elections are tricky beasts.  There are certain rules that you must follow to play in becoming an elected official…or are there.  It seems that the end of the primaries has seen several key races in several states have had the presence of some who don’t like to play by traditional rules.  Call them sore losers, call them relentless fighters, either way, they are in it for the long haul, and do not care about the “rules”.  More times than none, a candidate will enter a race for a respected elected official office, hope to get the nod from their respective party and go against any other person or persons who wish to compete for the job and allow their fate to the electorate.  If they are awarded the right by “the people” they normally run against others from opposing parties for that particular job.

Then there are those individuals that just won’t concede without a fight and chose to go against all of the traditional norms, and decide to become a or decide to run as an independent or even go through the process to become a write-in candidate.  So, as far as the “rules” go, there are “rules” for these so-called rule breakers to accomplish such an abstract idea of self-nomination.  Each state has their own requirements and fees, and if a candidate fulfils the requirements by the set deadline, their name will appear with the rest of the candidates who gained wish to vie for the job.

Below is a roundup of  some of the year’s most significant independent candidates — together with a look at their motivations and the odds that they’ll prevail on Election Day.

Although running as an independent candidate is becoming more and more common, becoming a write-in candidate is not something unheard of, but definitely not a route to become a contender in most cases .  Historically, election officials have had the displeasure of dealing with such write-in candidates as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny or other fictional characters, but the Senate race in Alaska has resurfaced the “legitimate” write-in candidate.

Not since Strom Thurmond has a Senate candidate won an election as a write-in candidate, and his tenor lasted for 48 years. If Lisa Murkowski plans on following in his footsteps, she’s got her work cut out for her.  Not only did she lose to tea-party backed Joe Miller in the primary, but she is not supported by the  Republican establishment either.

Her decision  to enter the race as a write-in candidate against Joe Miller (R) and Scott McAdams (D) has caused democrats to take notice as well. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee instantly expressed delight in Murkowski’s decision.

“Lisa Murkowski’s decision to mount a write-in campaign is just the latest example of the Republican Party cannibalizing itself,” DSCC spokeswoman Deirdre Murphy said in a statement. “From the tip of Florida, to the beaches in Delaware, all the way to the island off Alaska, the Republican Party heads into November with deep and serious divisions.”

Because Murkowski’s name won’t be on the ballot she faces enormous challenges on election day.  In her first campaign ad since declaring herself as a write-in candidate, the URL for her website was misspelled.  Her campaign has since fixed the ad, but the URL that was shown in the first ad, www.murkwski.com, actually routed visitors to an anti-Murkowski, pro-McAdams website.

“You’ve got to learn how to spell my name, but that’s not as tough as it sounds, and over the next 45 days we’ll be teaching you how to spell it,” Murkowski said Friday, RealClearPolitics reports.

Current polls show increased discrepancies in a clear-cut winner.  Rasumussen reported recently that Miller was leading with 42%, Scott McAdams with 25%, and Murkowski taking 27%.  However, today  released by the Wall Street Jounal, a poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., shows GOP nominee Joe Miller with 38%, Murkowski, 36% and Democrat trailing with 22%. The margin of error is three percentage points.

This will be an interesting race to watch for the next month, and whatever the outcome, Lisa Murkowski has her work cut out for her.

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