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"Operation Alaska Chaos" Tries to Hobble Murkowski

The race between U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Miller got even more heated this week. Miller supporters began a campaign Thursday to add themselves as write-in candidates, hoping to draw attention away from Murkowski at the ballot box. AP Photo

Alaska Senator and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski got a victory Wednesday when the Alaska Supreme Court decided that election officials could distribute lists of write-in candidates at voting booths.

Those who don't want her to succeed, however, came up with a way to blunt the decision's impact: Get enough names on the list of write-in candidates to make it hard to even find Murkowski's name.

At least 100 Alaskan citizens showed up at the elections office in Anchorage on Thursday, the last day to register as a candidate for the Senate seat, to register as write-in candidates, the the Anchorage Daily News reports. Many came in the hopes that an overwhelming list of names would create confusion in the voting booths for potential Murkowski supporters.

The list of candidates now includes around 150 write-in candidates, not included those denied eligibility because of late entry or age requirements.

One of the write-in candidates bears a name quite similar to that of the senator - Lisa M. Lackey. Alaska election officials have vowed to consider voter intent in reviewing ballots, which means that Murkowski's name doesn't need to be spelled correctly on a ballot. But whereas a ballot marked "Lisa M" would previously have had a good chance to be counted for the senator, Lackey's presence as a candidate could complicate matters.

Conservatives4Palin.com yesterday referred to the movement "Operation Alaska Chaos," and, citing Dan Riehl of biggovernment.com, called on Alaskans to get involved: "If you're an Alaska resident and qualified to run for Senate, Big Government wants you to take action today to highlight the chaos brought about by Lisa Murkowski's seemingly unending quest for power with her write-in campaign. But you must act today."

The post also included links to the forms necessary to register as a write-in candidate.

"Operation Alaska Chaos" is just the latest development in the drama that has unfolded over the past week in Alaska, where Murkowski is facing Republican nominee Joe Miller, who defeated her in the primary, and Democrat Scott McAdams.

On Thursday, a poll was released suggesting that Miller is now in third place in the race, behind a "write-in candidate," assumed to be Murkowski, and McAdams. (Other polls have shown him tied with Murkowski for first, and polling is unreliable both in Alaska and when write-in candidates are involved.)

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stumped for Joe Miller in downtown Anchorage on Thursday, Oct 28, 2010. AP Photo/Rob Stapleton

Miller has faced a string of bad press in recent weeks, including reports following his admission that he inappropriately engaged in private polling while on the job andthen lied about it. His missteps may be hurting him at the polls despite last-minute efforts to boost his candidacy by early supporter Sarah Palin, who rallied for him in Anchorage on Thursday.

If she wins, Murkowski will become only the second person in history to be win election to a major office by a write-in campaign - the first being South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who was elected in 1954.