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Rasmussen Reports surveyed 500 likely voters on the phone just hours after Murkowski conceded the GOP primary to Miller on Tuesday night. It shows Miller just six points ahead of McAdams, 50 to 44. Two percent of those surveyed are undecided and 4 percent said they’d support a different candidate. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 and a half percentage points.
The numbers are tighter than an earlier Public Policy poll of 1,300 likely voters that had McAdams 8 points behind Miller.
Scott McAdams spent elementary and middle school in Petersburg and Ketchikan, attended high school in California, and then returned to Alaska at age 20. He spent a summer working at a cannery butchering crab, then several years as a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel.
At 27, he decided to return to college, and earned a degree in secondary education from Sitka’s Sheldon Jackson College in 2000. He served on the Sitka school board — three years as chairman — and has been mayor of the city and borough of Sitka since 2008.
“Sitka is a great little town,” McAdams said. “It’s a great place to live. But we’re 164 small towns in this state, even Anchorage.”
And becoming known in those 164 small towns could be job number 1 for a campaign facing Joe Miller, whose unexpected success against Murkowski in the primary, as well as support from the Tea Party Express and from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, have earned him national exposure already.
McAdams spent the primary season as a weekend candidate, traveling the state during his off hours. He’s now taken a two-month unpaid leave from his job as director of Community Schools for the Sitka School District.
“Well, we have two months left to go and we will raise that kind of money to be able to have a competitive campaign here in the state, with the full media buy, and all the things that come with the campaign,” he said. “And we will win in November.”
As of Aug. 4, federal reports showed Miller’s campaign with about $283,000 in contributions, with more than two-thirds of that spent. The Tea Party Express also has spent roughly $115,000 supporting Miller separately.
McAdams’ numbers were last updated at the end of June, and show nearly $9,200 in contributions, with about half of that spent. But in the week since the election, the Web site ActBlue.com shows more than $45,000 in contributions to McAdams.
It remains to be seen whether McAdams will receive support from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. McAdams says it doesn’t matter.
“The DSCC and the national Democratic Party doesn’t even know my name. And that’s fine by me,” he said. “I love the Alaskan Democratic Party, they’ve been behind me 100 percent, Sen. Mark Begich has been behind me 100 percent, and that’s just fine by me.”
But he acknowledged the support of the two national organizations would make a big difference.
“I’m not sure exactly what their strategy’s going to be. I’m not sure what their plan is,” he said. “This is a small population state. We can raise enough money to win. Nobody knew who Joe Miller was on the 31st of May.”
A poll taken last week showed McAdams was 8 points behind Miller. That’s based on a report from Public Policy Polling, which talked to roughly 1,300 likely voters on Aug. 27 and 28. Some 14 percent of the voters sampled in that poll said they are undecided.
“We’re working every day, making calls all over the state, talking to a lot of Alaskans,” McAdams said. “I think our message is resonating with a lot of people. We have been able to raise more dollars in the recent week, and we’ll continue to work hard throughout the course of the election to be competitive.”
McAdams said the numbers gave him hope, especially considering Miller’s widespread exposure so far.
“He’s been front and center in the Alaska media for the last five weeks to the tune of $700,000 dollars,” McAdams. “We haven’t spent any money on media and the fact that we’re only 7 to 8 points down tells me that we’re perfectly positioned to peak at the right time and win this election.”
Miller’s campaign could not immediately be reached, but a statement on his Web site says he intends to continue traveling the state and talking to people about “the answers needed to get our nation back on track.”
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