| How? That's not exactly certain. But a week after saying she would be "coming home" at the end of her Senate term, Lisa Murkowski's tone has changed:
Murkowski told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she's been inundated with calls and e-mails from supporters, asking her not to leave the race. She says she's been humbled and is listening - and weighing her options. ...
"But what I'm looking at is my state and the future of my state for my kids. So, I have not made that determination that I'm going to give up. I'm not a quitter, never have been. And I'm still in this game," Murkowski said.
She met briefly Tuesday with the Libertarian candidate, David Haase after friends of hers - without her direction, she said - approached his party, asking if they would consider a Murkowski candidacy. She said she had an interesting discussion with Haase but made clear she's not interested in changing her "political stripes."
Besides a third-party run, Murkowski also could seek a write-in candidacy, which she called high risk. Or, she could decide to stay out of the race. ...
She has until five days before the general election to decide on a write-in run but acknowledged a decision needs to be made soon. She said she's listening to Alaskans and giving "considered thought."
So let's get this straight: Friends of hers have reached out to the state Libertarian Party, and she's even gone so far as to meet with Libertarian nominee David Haase, but claims she's not interested in changing her "political stripes". And, for their part, the Alaska Libertarians, who already voted against allowing Murkowski on the ballot, are publicly saying that having her on their ballot line is probably not going to happen:
...Party chairman Scott Kohlhaas said the meetings are leading up to a discussion with Murkowski herself if she decides she wants a spot on the party's ticket.
But it's unlikely Libertarian leaders -- who have disapproved of Murkowski's voting record in the past -- will allow her on the ballot before the Sept. 15 deadline, he said. "I tried to warn the Murkowski people that they're trying to climb Mount McKinley here ... it's probably impossible."
Murkowski has eight days to somehow make a Libertarian run happen, if that's what she's interested in. The Libertarians, for their part, are the most curious players here -- voting to block Murkowski from their ballot, and calling a switch "probably impossible". Are they trying to get some major concessions out of Murkowski in exchange for their ballot line? Or do they just like the attention of a United States Senator for a change?
UPDATE: More details on Murkowski's play:
Libertarian Party nominee David Haase told POLITICO he met with Murkowski at the home of a private citizen Tuesday morning in Anchorage, where they discussed whether she was in interested in replacing Haase as the party's nominee on the ticket this November.
"My answer was that I was considering it and I wanted her to come up with some reasons why, and she's considering that," said Haase....
Haase said that he and Murkowski agreed they would touch base again Wednesday and would make a decision on the issue tentatively by Friday - just five days before the Sept. 15 deadline to make changes to party nominees on the ballot....
Nonetheless, Murkowski and Haase discussed the matter - and it appears the senator made some efforts to discuss some of her more Libertarian-leaning positions during the meeting.
Haase recalled that Murkowski told him that she has "reservations" about the Federal Reserve - a pet issue for the Libertarian nominee - and reminded him that she supported an amendment this year that would have called for an audit of the country's central banking system.
What a crazy race. Who knows if any of this will pan out. Also, I'm not surprised to see Murkowski tout her "reservations" about the Fed. After all, we wrote that little bit of PR for her a week and a half ago:
Anyhow, I wonder if Murkowski's support of a David Vitter amendment which supported a stronger audit of the Fed than the one that ultimately passed might endear her to the Libertarians.
SSP: Like reading Lisa Murkowski's memoranda a week early!
UPDATE: The Anchorage Daily News has much more, and by the sounds of it, the Libertarians are pretty cool to the idea:
In order for Murkowski to run as a Libertarian, Haase would have to step aside and the party would need to reverse its vote barring her from the ticket.
"It would be a serious flip-flop," party chairman Kohlhaas said. "And I don't think it's happening." ...
Haase said Murkowski does have Libertarian tendencies but that her support for the war on drugs is a problem. Party chairman Kolhaas has also identified other Murkowski positions as a problem for the Libertarians. Those include her vote to authorize the war in Iraq and her 2008 vote in favor of the Bush administration's Wall Street bailout plan, which Murkowski has said she regrets.
Haase said he might be willing to talk to his party's leadership on Murkowski's behalf. "If she convinced me I would do everything I can to convince them. But she hasn't convinced me. And she hasn't decided that she wants to run...she doesn't want to be seen as somebody that will switch parties just to get elected." Haase said.
Kohlhaas said the Libertarians are trying to be polite. But he said he understands [Murkowski] "is not going to change her stripes," and if that's the case it would be impossible for the party's executive committee to reverse itself and allow Murkowski on the ticket.