Alaska’s U.S. Senate race just got a little bit more interesting, but it isn’t clear right now exactly how.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski now has a real name running against her; only it’s probably not one you would have guessed. It isn’t Joe Miller or Mark Begich, it’s Edgar Blatchford, whose name appeared this morning on the Alaska Division of Elections’ website filing to run as a Democrat.
Blatchford is well known in Alaska political circles having served in several high profile political positions including Mayor of Seward, Commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs under Governor Wally Hickel, and Commissioner of Community and Economic Development under Governor Frank Murkowski.
What isn’t as well-known is why Mr. Blatchford is entering the race.
He could be a placeholder for Independent Senatorial candidate Margaret Stock. The theory being that Blatchford is a high enough profile candidate to win the party’s nomination. He could then drop out leaving the Alaska Democratic Party with a void on their line of the ballot, a move that could swing Democratic votes to Stock.
On the other hand, Blatchford could be a plant for Murkowski. He was a registered Republican until a week ago (May 25th) and served in the administration of Murkowski’s father. In this scenario, Blatchford wins the Democratic nomination to guarantee there is a Democrat on the general election ballot, depriving Stock of many of those votes. Such a move would strategically aide Murkowski.
Insiders I’ve talked to in both camps have so far indicated their side had nothing to do with Blatchford filing, so maybe he is just running because he actually wants to.
Calls to the number listed on Blatchford’s campaign filing have gone unreturned, and no Facebook page or website is listed for his campaign.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.