Nepotism Fallout

After Governor-elect Frank Murkowski chose his daughter to replace him in the United States Senate for the second Alaskan seat, people stood up and took notice. Alaskans don’t take kindly to oddities and favoritism, and this was just one of many bad decisions that Murkowski has made.

With his daughter trailing in the polls for her reelection bid, Murkowski and his Lieutenant Governor, Loren Leman pushed to keep a ballot measure off the November 2nd ballot. Leman pulled it off twice, and was finally ordered by the State Supreme Court to put it back on. When he did, he made the ballot measure sound as negative as possible, which the ballot supporters objected to. A new lawsuit, to block the November 2nd ballots is not before a judge.

Article archived here.Group Wants Ballot Distribution Blocked

Mon Sep 27,10:28 PM ET

By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Backers of an initiative to change the way U.S. Senate vacancies are filled in Alaska on Monday asked a judge to block printing and distribution of the Nov. 2 ballots, contending the state’s summary of the measure is misleading.

The Trust the People Initiative Committee is seeking a temporary restraining order and an injunction.

Currently, the governor can appoint a replacement to a vacant Senate seat. The initiative would abolish appointments and require a special election be held in all cases except when the vacancy occurs within 60 days of a primary election.

The drive to get the measure on the ballot was started by three state Democratic lawmakers after Republican Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter Lisa to his Senate seat when he became governor in 2002.

Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, head of the Division of Elections, declined to speculate on the effects of a court-ordered injunction, but said: “I would think that most courts would not want to interfere with an ongoing election.”

Leman, a Republican, twice removed the measure from the Nov. 2 ballot until ordered by the Alaska Supreme Court to put it back on.

The backers of the initiative say the current language of the title and the four-sentence summary “casts the proposal in a negative light,” according to the motion filed Monday.

The ballot summary says, in part: “Under the measure a vacated seat would remain vacant for three to five months, leaving Alaska without full representation in the Senate.”

Backers of the initiative say the seat would usually be filled in four months or less. Opponents say a special election would likely take longer.

In addition to blocking the current ballot, the group has asked the judge to order the Division of Elections to change the summary so “that is true, impartial, fair and accurate.”

The language is impartial and accurate, Leman said.

“Bias is in the eye of the beholder,” he said.

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