The NRSC’s silly scheme in Alaska

THE NRSC’S SILLY SCHEME IN ALASKA…. In the closing days of the U.S. Senate campaign in Alaska, it seemed obvious that Joe Miller’s (R) support was fading fast, and that incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was the front-runner, despite being a write-in candidate.

The Republican establishment started conceding last weekend that the party had all but given up on Miller. When National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman (NRSC) John Cornyn talked to ABC’s “This Week,” he denied abandoning Miller, but seemed reluctant to even say the candidate’s name out loud, saying only, “We’re supporting the nominee of our party.”

Now, of course, the election has come and gone, and while it’s going to take a while to go through the ballots, Murkowski appears likely to keep her seat. Republicans aren’t exactly bothered by this — the party supported Murkowski in the primary, and if/when she’s declared the winner, Murkowski will caucus with her party anyway.

But that doesn’t mean the NRSC can’t try to use this to pry a few bucks out of their supporters. Reader C.R. forwarded me the latest fundraising appeal from the NRSC, sent out over John Cornyn’s signature, and with a subject line that read, “Help Joe Miller in Alaska.”

“We had a great night on election night, gaining six new seats and 13 new Senators who will come to Washington to fight for lower spending and job-creating policies from the federal government.

“But there is still one seat to be decided. Joe Miller in Alaska is dedicated to the conservative principles we need in Washington DC. But he faces the potential of a lengthy recount. And in Alaska, they are still counting votes from election day. We need to get Joe the resources he needs to win the vote count. Because we need Joe to join our fight against Barack Obama.

“Help ensure that this vote count is conducted fairly. Please click here to make a gift of $100, $75, $50, or $25 to Joe Miller’s campaign.

“We remain optimistic that we will prevail in this election. But both sides are beginning to lawyer up and prepare for any possible legal fights. Joe needs your help to make sure he has enough money to make it a fair contest.”

Yes, heaven forbid that rascally Republican steal the race she won from that other Republican.

This struck me as interesting for a few reasons. First, is there any chance whatsoever that the NRSC will be rushing into Alaska to help challenge a Murkowski win? No, there isn’t.

Second, this is almost certainly little more than a shameless fundraising scheme, but it may also be evidence of the NRSC kowtowing to a party base that much prefers the hyper-conservative Miller to the less unhinged Murkowski.

And third, the NRSC should probably remember that Murkowski may not be especially pleased by all of this. She’s probably not thrilled with how the primary shook out, and how some of her own colleagues (Jim DeMint, she’s looking at you) backed Miller’s challenge. Don’t be too surprised if Murkowski returns to the Senate next year, and is slightly more open to Democratic outreach than she has been.