Just hours before the final deadline, dozens of Alaskans came out Thursday to register as write-in candidates in an effort to thwart Sen. Lisa Murkowski's bid to retain her Senate seat.
At the urging of a local talk radio host, more than 50 people reportedly signed up to be write-in candidates with the Alaska Division of Elections before registration closed.
he move by the new Senate hopefuls was prompted by a recent decision by the Alaska Supreme Court paving the way for election officials to hand out lists of write-in candidates at polling locations. Another hearing is scheduled for Friday morning to address the matter.
The high court's decision was initially considered a boost to Murkowski's campaign in the competitive race between her, Republican Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams. The influx of write-in candidates who would join Murkowski on that list, however, only stands to hurt her candidacy.
Local election officials did not return a request for comment on exactly how many write-in candidates had registered - or how many signed up with names similar to "Lisa Murkowski." The Anchorage Daily News reported that 56 people had registered just before the 5 p.m. deadline.
Dan Fagan, who hosts a popular conservative radio talk show in Anchorage, said that after one listener called in to say he was registering as a write-in candidate, he encouraged others to do the same.
"My thought is if the state is going to illegally help Lisa, we should at least dilute their ability to do so," he said. "That way, the list will be so long, it won't help her that much anyway."
The new batch of Senate hopefuls emerged just hours after two polls were released showing Miller losing ground to Murkowski. Previous polls of the race had showed Miller with a small lead or in a dead heat with Murkowski.
Fagan said he supports Miller for Senate. A spokesperson for Miller's campaign said they were not involved with promoting any write-in candidacies.