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Libertarians to Murkowski: No dice

From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --

The Alaska Libertarian Party will not consider allowing Lisa Murkowski on its ticket for the U.S. Senate race, party chairman Scott Kohlhaas told me this morning. Kohlhaas said Murkowski's positions do not reflect the values of the Libertarian Party.

The five-member executive committee of the party had an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss it and came to a unanimous decision.

Kohlhaas said Murkowski or her campaign staffers never approached the party about running as a Libertarian but that there'd been so much speculation that party officials decided to act.

"Let's put this to rest; it's not happening," Kohlhaas said.

Murkowski supporter Andrew Halcro had approached the Libertarians about Murkowski running on its ticket if she loses the Republican primary to Joe Miller. The Libertarians had indicated at that point they were open to considering the possibility.

But the Libertarians met for about three hours at Kohlhaas’ Anchorage apartment yesterday to make a final decision. Kohlhaas, who is running for the state Legislature, said the matter was becoming a distraction and they wanted to move on.

Kohlhaas said there is a laundry list of issues on which Murkowski does not fit with the Libertarians. He said they include her 2008 vote in favor of the Bush administration’s Wall Street bailout plan, her vote to authorize war with Iraq, and a vote she took in the state Legislature to deny Alaska Permanent Fund dividends to men who are not registered with the Selective Service.

There are no other third party candidates in the U.S. Senate race. So the Libertarians' decision takes away Murkowski's only chance at making a third party run if she loses the Republican primary after the absentee and questioned votes are counted. Murkowski could run as an independent but only as a write-in candidate.

Miller leads Murkowski by 1,668 votes with over 25,000 absentee and questioned votes left to process. The Alaska Division of Elections will count remaining votes tomorrow, Friday and Sept. 8.

Miller told me last week that he would not consider a third party candidacy if Murkowski ends up beating him in the primary.

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