Murky Motives

Is it lust for power, or just ego, that makes our elected officials put hanging on to power ahead of any other principle.

The U.S. Senate race in Alaska was turned on its head in August, when Tea Party Express-backed candidate Joe Miller upset incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary. On Friday evening, Murkowski stunned the state again with a decision to mount a write-in campaign to hold on to her seat.

Lisa Murkowski, refused readmission to the senate by Republican primary voters, has clearly received the memo sent by voters - she's just decided to tear it up.

Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer, whose group campaigned heavily for Murkowski's primary opponent - and eventual primary winner - Joe Miller, said the senator's decision proves she doesn't "get it."

"She was fired by the people. The people were given a choice and they voted for somebody else," she said, adding that she was shocked to learn of Murkowski's decision.

What drives Murkowski to adopt a new, and treacherous path, in an attempt to cling to her senate seat. A write-in campaign after having lost her party's nomination is a much tougher challenge than running as an independent like Charlie Crist is doing in Florida.

Murkowski faces tough odds with her write-in candidacy. She has lost support from members within the Republican establishment, who are backing the Republican nominee, Joe Miller. She also has just more than six weeks to gear up a campaign, motivate her staff and turn out the vote.

And, the nature of a write-in campaign is that her name is not on the ballot - voters need to add her name manually if they want to vote for her.

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said he had told Murkowski that if she ran as a write-in, she no longer had his support for any leadership roles. Murkowski resigned her position as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican conference, her campaign spokesman confirmed.

Murkowski's rejection of the will of the people is even more predictable than the average entrenched pol's - after all, she was appointed to the position by her father, who had resigned it to become governor.

"Lisa has served her state and our party with distinction," McConnell said in a statement, "but Republicans acknowledge the decision Alaskans made and join them in support of the Republican nominee, Joe Miller, the next senator for Alaska."

What drives these people? Is it lust for power first, ego second. Or, the other way around.