In a little more than two months, the Scott McAdams campaign went from $10,000 in the bank to $1.3 million. And McAdams went from being the relatively unknown mayor of a small Alaska city to appearances in the national media.
But as he was gaining money and exposure, he says he was also losing something.
“I think we ran out of time, obviously,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “It looks like Sen. Murkowski is going to end up pulling this thing out in the end. The numbers reflect the growth we had amongst Alaskans. We went out and we worked hard 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for two months. In the end we didn’t quite get enough voters to carry this thing out, but I think we did well.”
Roughly 41 percent of voters cast a write-in ballot for Senate on Tuesday. Miller pulled down 34 percent of the vote, and McAdams earned 24 percent.
McAdams went into the August primary with party backing, but also facing the expectation that Lisa Murkowski would be the Republican nominee. When Joe Miller won the GOP nomination, the electoral math moved a little in McAdams’ favor. And when Murkowski later re-entered as a write-in candidate, it seemed to shift back the other way a little.
“You know I think ultimately there were a lot of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters who were afraid of the Tea Party Express,” McAdams said. “We got half of them back over to our camp, and the other half, we didn’t have time to peel them off.”
Talking to KCAW by phone from Anchorage, McAdams said he’s coming back to Sitka, relaxing for a few days, and then getting back to work. He’s been on a two-month unpaid leave of absence from his job as director of community schools in Sitka.
He says he’ll continue to be active in public life, whether on a local board or a larger endeavor. As for whether his name will ever appear on a statewide ballot:
“It’s hard to say right now,” he said. “We certainly gained a lot of support from people all over the state. It’s hard to rule anything out.”
The senate race itself won’t be officially settled until later this month, when state officials will look at the names on the write-in ballots.
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