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Former Sen. Arlen Specter touts Murkowski write-in victory

Alaska Dispatch

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole notes that a new book by former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter credits Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski with some extraordinary campaigning chops in defeating Joe Miller.

“The example of Sen. Lisa Murkowksi is a peephole into what could be done,” Specter said in an interview with Bill Plante of CBS.  “She lost to the Tea Party. She was cannibalized in the primary, lost.   She won on a write-in, which is unprecedented in American history . . . . If the electorate is sufficiently informed and sufficiently motivated, you can beat the extremists.”

Specter, a Republican from 1965 until switching to the Democrats in 2009, was defeated in the Democratic primary of 2010 by Joe Sestak, who went on to lose to Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. 

While Specter harps on the difficulty for write-in voters of spelling Murkowski, Cole notes: “Perfect spelling was not required on the Murkowski write-in ballots. She beat Joe Miller by more than 10,000 votes and Democrat Scott McAdams was third.

“I can understand why Specter sees a clear national lesson in the Murkowski victory, analyzing it from a distance and ignoring facts that complicate matters.”