Write-in campaigns: From a guy who ran one

By CHUCK ACHBERGER

Much has been said about write-in campaigns in Alaska over the past five weeks. Since I was the campaign manager for Robin Taylor, Alaska’s last statewide write-in campaign, allow me share some facts, among them is Lisa Murkowski can win.

In 1998, the Republican gubernatorial primary was between Robin Taylor and John Lindauer. The Republican Party leadership supported John Lindauer even though there was evidence of his flaws. Finally, when all was exposed they withdrew support from Lindauer and in turn backed Sen. Taylor.
With less than nine days before the general election, Robin Taylor had virtually no time and no money to inform voters on the write in process. He had no Internet, no iPhone, and no Twitter account. He started with no major endorsements and low statewide name recognition. Still, Robin Taylor fought to win. Over 40,000 voters supported his efforts. He had more votes than Lindauer, whose name was on the ballot, but not enough to win. A few thousand more ballots were thrown out, mostly because voters failed to “fill in the oval,” a requirement which has been emphasized in Lisa Murkowski’s current campaign.

This is all highly relevant: The Alaska Democratic Party is saying the candidate who is leading in the polls (Murkowski) somehow can’t win a write-in campaign, so vote for the candidate who remains dead last. This is putting Alaska at risk.

The reality is that Lisa will have had over six full weeks to inform voters on the write-in process and to get out the vote among voters who are thoroughly unsatisfied with either the Democratic or Republican nominee. She has the benefit of financial support and a highly visible Internet and conventional media campaign. Her name recognition polls close to 100 percent.

Lisa has endorsements from fishermen, unions and Native organizations, along with a steadily growing number of voters who are putting Alaska before their political affiliations in this critical time for the state. And for whatever it’s worth, although I am more conservative than Lisa, she has my endorsement too.

Much like John Lindauer, Joe Miller’s character has left more questions than answers.

Fill in the oval and write in Lisa Murkowski, make history and give Alaska the leadership it needs in Washington, D.C.