Murkowski Misspells Name in First Ad for Write-In Candidacy

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska faces high hurdles as a write-in Senate candidate -- her own campaign demonstrated as much on Monday with a rather striking mistake in the first online ad of her renewed re-election bid.

Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed challenger Joe Miller last month, announced Friday that she will seek re-election as a write-in candidate.

"You've got to learn how to spell my name, but that's not as tough as it sounds, and over the next 45 days we'll be teaching you how to spell it," Murkowski said Friday, RealClearPolitics reports.

The ad her campaign launched Monday aimed to do just that -- the approximately minute-long spot portrays a 1950's era classroom in which students learn how to fill in the bubble for write-in candidates and then write in Murkowski's name. The ad is called, "Fill it in! Write it in! A Murkowski Public Service Announcement."

The first version of the ad, however, misspelled Murkowski's name in the URL of her website. It told viewers to visit LisaMurkwski.com. As RealClearPolitics reported, that specific URL leads to an anti-Murkowski, pro-Miller website that claims to be unaffiliated with the Miller campaign.

Murkowski's campaign subsequently posted a second version of the ad that correctly directs viewers to LisaMurkowski.com.

Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai has said a ballot will count if the voter's intent is clear, so voters may not have to spell "Murkowski" correctly in order for their vote to count.

Murkowski nevertheless faces an uphill battle. The Republican party is fully behind Miller's candidacy and its leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction with Murkowski's campaign.

"I am bothered by anything that makes it less likely that we can elect a Republican, especially in a state where we had every hope of electing one," Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) told the Hill.

Republican victories in now less likely in both Alaska and Delaware (where Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell pulled off a primary upset), Kyl said. "And looking at how we might try to regain control of the Senate, that's the part that bothers me," he added.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has pledged at least $212,000 to help Miller, according to the Associated Press. The Tea Party Express spent more than $550,000 in support of Miller during the primary and has promised to continue campaigning for him.

Murkowski benefits from strong name recognition and has $1 million left over from the primaries to spend between now and November. Still, only one senator has ever been elected as a write-in candidate -- Strom Thurmond in 1954.

Miller and Murkowski are running against Democrat Scott McAdams, mayor of the town Sitka, Alaska.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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