Former US Sen. Mark Begich considering write-in campaign for Murkowski’s seat
Updated at 2:51 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13
Alaska’s incumbent U.S. senator may have even more company on the November ballot.
Mark Begich says he’s considering running as a write-in candidate against U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Nov. 8 election. Begich, a former mayor of Anchorage, served in the U.S. Senate from 2009-2015.
“There’s a lot of folks that have been calling and asking me and obviously encouraging me to consider it and I’m going to continue to look at what all the options are for me to continue to help and serve Alaska as I’ve done, you know, for the last 25-plus years,” Begich said in a phone interview Tuesday from Washington D.C.
The Alaska Democrat says he doesn’t have a timeframe on when he would make the decision.
“That decision I can make as, you know, as the time permits, but you know, the election isn’t until November,” Begich said.
The race for U.S. Senate heated up last week, when Joe Miller announced his bid for the seat as the Libertarian Party’s candidate. Miller defeated Murkowski as a Republican in the 2010 primary, before she made a come back as a write-in candidate in the general election that year.
Ivan Moore, a pollster with Alaska Survey Research, says Miller’s entry into the race has given Begich a better shot against Murkowski. Between Begich and Miller, Moore says Begich has higher chances of defeating the incumbent.
“The thing about Mark is that his base is very loyal, and very deep. I suspect that he could go to sleep between now and election day, and as long as the word was put out to the point that everyone knew it, 30 to 35 percent of people would write in Mark Begich’s name,” Moore said in a phone interview from Fairbanks Tuesday.
Margaret Stock is running as an independent. A spokesperson for Stock’s campaign, Amy Jackman, said the candidate declined to comment because since Begich is only considering a run, it was “not news.”
Ray Metcalfe is the Alaska Democratic Party’s nominee running against Murkowski.
“Well let’s see — him, me, Margaret Stock — well, that just about guarantees [Joe] Miller’s re-election, or election,” Metcalfe said in response to the news.
Begich said he is not concerned about splitting the vote among party members.
“I’m not supporting the Democratic nominee. I’ve said that publicly more than one once,” Begich said. “He has yet to show what he sees as the future of Alaska and what he can do and what he can bring forward and that’s frustrating to me and frustrating to a lot of people.”
A spokesperson with Murkowski’s campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
Officials from the state Republican party said they weren’t worried.
“Begich is ‘thinking’ about running. If he gets off the dime and does anything, I’ll comment,” said Tuckerman Babcock, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.
This is a developing story; please check back for updates and watch continued coverage on KTVA at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
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