I have a soft spot in my heart for Alaska, because I grew up there, and still consider myself Alaskan. It was quite refreshing to read that, the very unpopular governor Murkowski will be stripped of his nepotism-filled power to fill vacant Senate seats.

It seems that when Murkowski won the Governorship, he took a long hard look at a list of candidates to replace him in the United States Senate, and decided his daughter would do well. He and she are so unpopular, that his daughter is barely using her last name in her ads, and the Senate seat, though said to be up for grabs, is being put into the Democratic corner by those in the know.

Copy of the expiring Yahoo! article is archived with this story.Key Alaska Senate Initiative Placed on Ballot

Mon Aug 23, 7:36 PM ET

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE (Reuters) – Alaska’s Supreme Court has resurrected a ballot initiative that would allow voters to abolish the governor’s power to appoint a U.S. senator, a high-profile issue in Alaska ever since Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski named his daughter Lisa to the post in 2002.

In a ruling released late on Friday, the Supreme Court ordered the initiative back on the November ballot, even though the Republican-controlled legislature in May passed a similar bill that requires special elections to fill vacant Senate seats.

Experts say the ballot initiative will remind voters of Lisa Murkowski’s appointment by her father, an unpopular decision, and could influence a key contest in the pitched battle for control of the closely divided U.S. Senate.

Lisa Murkowski is likely to face a tight race in November against Democratic former Gov. Tony Knowles if, as expected, she wins the Republican primary on Tuesday.

Frank Murkowski left the Senate after 22 years when he was elected governor in 2002. Three weeks after he was sworn in as governor, Murkowski named his daughter, a state lawmaker from Anchorage, to his old job in the U.S. Senate.

Voter anger at the appointment led to the proposal of a ballot initiative to require special elections for abandoned senate seats.

Under Alaska law, a pending ballot initiative is voided if the legislature passes a bill that is substantially similar.

But one feature of the legislation passed in May gave the governor authority to appoint an interim senator, which prompted initiative supporters to successfully sue to get their measure back on the ballot.

“We feel this is a victory for people’s right to vote, and that’s more important to us than the short-term impact on any particular race,” state Rep. Eric Croft, an Anchorage Democrat who helped organize the ballot initiative, said on Monday.

A spokesman for Lisa Murkowski said the senator’s campaign had scant comment on the initiative.

“We expect it’ll have little effect on the primary, and right now that’s what we’re focused on,” campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy said.

By walterh

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