An Alaskan's Perspective On Why Murkowski Lost

Jillian Bandes

9/1/2010 7:38:03 AM - Jillian Bandes
Murkowski's defeat represents a major loss for the GOP establishment and a major win for Sarah Palin, as our new political editor, Guy Benson, just mentioned, (welcome, Guy!). But how does this kind of political coup even happen? Matt Moon is a former deputy research director for the RNC, born and raised in Anchorage, and has been involved as a staffer and strategist in several Alaska campaigns.
Despite the enormous amount of admiration I have for her, I believe Murkowski has no one to blame except her own campaign for what is a stunning primary defeat. Bottom line up front: Lisa Murkowski's primary campaign should serve as a lesson in what not to do when you are being attacked by your opponent.

There has been a lot of talk about how wrong the polls were, the ballot initiative concerning abortion, and why Lisa Murkowski decided not to "go negative" on Joe Miller. Yet it's just not as simple as that.

1. When attacked by Miller on health care via paid media, Murkowski chose to respond directly only via earned media.
2. When you're being attacked in paid media in a Republican primary in this environment, the right response in paid media isn't to say "Here's evidence that I'm a conservative." It shows a certain sign of weakness...
3. Murkowski had the right response to Joe Miller ready to go, but never used it.
4. While Miller's supporters had all the motivation in the world to show up, Murkowski gave no motivation to her base of supporters to go vote for her.