Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | January 31, 2003

Murkowski names ANWR swing votes

Former senator and new Alaska governor Frank Murkowski, in an effort to push for the opening of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, has provided a list of the most of how all Senators stand on the issue.

According to Murkowski, ANWR drilling has 48 solid supporters. He needs to get to 60 to overcome a promised Democratic filibuster. The wafflers:

  • Gordon Smith (R-OR) -- says he supports ANWR, but not at this time. Whatever the heck that means. Voted against drilling last year.

  • Mark Prior (D-AR) -- he defeated a pro-drilling GOP senator, but it's uncertain where he himself stands on the issue.

  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) -- voted against drilling before, but claims to keep an open mind about it (read: you can buy me off)

  • Norm Coleman (R-MN) -- Promised to oppose ANWR drilling. Hasn't said anything to expect otherwise (especially since he's been running to the left since taking office).

  • Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) -- Voted against ANWR last year, and given the tough race he faces in increasingly Democratic Illinois, he won't change his mind.

  • Mike DeWine (R-OH) -- Voted against ANWR last year. I don't know what his schtick is, so I won't speculate.
Interesting that Murkowski would focus political pressure on these Senators. Especially since they aren't enough to swing the issue his way. If all of them suddenly supported drilling, that would still only bring the count up to 54. He needs 60 to make his oil industry backers happy.

Interestingly enough, Bush ditched any mention of ANWR in his speech. And some energy industry people interviewed in the news piece indicated that ANWR wasn't one of their priorities (that distinction goes to a natural gas pipeline from Alaska).

In any case, the chances for oil drilling in ANWR do not currently look good.

Posted January 31, 2003 08:35 AM | Comments (47)


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