Begich plotting for 2016. Murkowski beefing up.

The election tally isn’t complete, and already people are speculating on 2016, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be up for re-election. The National Journal quoted Jim Lottsfeldt, long-time friend of Mark Begich and the person who headed up the pro-Begich super-PAC, as saying that Begich is already considering running against Murkowski, who will likely see a challenger on her right in the 2016 primary. Here’s Lottsfeldt:

“He is already plotting. I’ve spoken with him and he hasn’t made up his mind, but if he doesn’t prevail he’s certainly considering his options in 2016.” (Begich’s campaign declined to comment on the senator’s future plans.)

Perhaps not coincidentally, Murkowski is making some changes to her staff. Althea St. Martin, from Murkowski’s Fairbanks office, is retiring. Former Murkowski and Ted Stevens staffer Jimmy Parrish will be taking her place. Also, staffer Sonia Henrick is moving from Ketchikan to Anchorage, to “enhance my work in the entire Southcentral region,” Murkowski said in a press release. The release indicates that more changes might be in the works.

Clarification: The piece originally said that according to Lottsfeldt, Begich was plotting against Murkowski. Lottsfeldt said that wasn’t true to what he said, which was that Begich is generally plotting his future in 2016, which could include a run against Murkowski or Rep. Don Young. It might seem a small distinction, but it’s a distinction and an important one.


16 thoughts on “Begich plotting for 2016. Murkowski beefing up.

  1. Amy Carroll

    To the many people at work and around town who have asked if the above comment is mine: NO. It’s someone else with the same name.

    Amy Carroll (from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau Alaska)

  2. AH HA

    It’s doubtful that there will be a republican challenger against Murkowski (however she spells it) in 2016. The Republican establishment is well aware of ‘the particular circumstance’ (to steal a phrase from our prospective Lt. Governor) that drew the Native Corporations to invest very heavily in Murkowski during her last election. Since then Murkowski has unfailingly brought home the bacon for the Native Corporations, even getting them another bite at the ANCSA apple in the Tongass. This leaves her in a, seemingly, rather awkward position where she claims to be a Republican but generally supports a very liberal agenda at the insistence of her paying constituency. Remember Begich’s claim; Murkowski and I worked well together? He was right. He and Murkowski had worked closely but it was because Murkowski had moved to the left not because Begich had moved to the right. But, no matter how she votes, as long as she is allowed to continue to act as a member of the Majority and claim to be a Republican it will be enough to placate the Republican Party and she will remain unassailable from the right.

    As far as the Democrats go, it’s doubtful that they will invest much in this race either since they will be unable to convince a major component of their traditional constituency to jump the fence and abandon Murkowski and that leaves them with the only other major components of their party in Alaska. The Greens and the Labor Unions and these two constituencies that are traditionally at odds, particularly in Alaska.
    This would leave the only possible platform for a prospective Democrat to run on that would unite the remaining components of the party: unionizing the greens….or greening the unions. A tough sell either way.

  3. Amy Carroll

    Prediction. Begich wins with 45% of the vote against Murkowski, with Miller running as a third party candidate.

    Alaska needs to require a candidate to receive a 50%+ majority to win an election to avoid a scenario such as this.

  4. Only His Hair Dresser Knows For Sure

    Charmingly sounds as if Master Lottsfeldt is splitting hairs with a little wiggle here and a little side step there. Sounds as if he’s taking lessons from the Begichmatic spinmaster. One final thought for JL: he who protests too much………….lalala.

  5. Jim lottsfeldt

    I did not say Mark Begich was plotting against Lisa Murkowski. What I told the National Journal was that Mark was upbeat and is always plotting his next move, which could include 2016.

    Mark is smart, energetic and not likely to retire because he lost this race. But to say he is plotting against Lisa Murkowski is twisting my words.

  6. Sandra

    Personality cult Mark S.? Let’s remember the Democrats, Alaska Natives and women who supported Lisa 4 years ago. Those were the folks at whom she was thumbing her nose and I hope they all remember. She will have to work hard — maybe she, too, can find a Unity ticket.

  7. Mark Springer

    @birchstick: Lisa’s support of Dan Sullivan – in the General Election – is only viewed as thumbing her nose by members of Begich’s personality cult.
    Lisa is a consummate pragmatist, not an ideologue.
    She owed Begich nothing, not by dint of his incumbency nor because of who supported him among the electorate.
    He might try in 2 years, but I seriously doubt if there will be the deep pockets from the national Democratic funders. He had his shot this time and retains his seniority. I trust he will enjoy the few priveleges ex-Senators still have.

  8. Garand Fellow

    What a silly idea. Begich has shot his wad. Even if Lisa was indicted and then convicted of felonious
    conduct Begich could not beat her. If voters got a do-over Begich would not beat Stevens again. Lisa’s only real opposition will come from the likes of Joe Miller and Sean Parnell.

    Even the Democrats know Democrats cannot win. That is why they abolished their gubernatorial ticket after the primary and chose Republican Bill Walker to run in its place. Maybe for the 2016 Senate race the Democrats will ask Joe Miller to run for them.

  9. joe blow

    If you’re a Dem and are disappointed in Lisa, I can’t wait to see what happens after Walker is Governor for a while …

  10. birchstick

    Lisa turned into a political animal in the latter stages of this Senate campaign, no doubt with a message from her leaders and her eyes set on a chairmanship. Tough to blame her, but she definitely turned her back on the very people that worked hard to put her back in office in 2010. So I could see where Begich thinks he has a shot, but it will be tough.

    Alaskans love their people in “power”- why the hell else would Don Young keep getting reelected? If she just keeps touting her energy Chair role, and doing everything she can to thwart Obama for the next two years, that’s apparently enough in this State. Murkowski is still popular right now, and wears the red coat, so she is certainly still in a position of strength even if she did thumb her nose at the Alaska Native, Independents, and D’s that voted for her last time around.

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