United States Senate Election in Alaska, 2004
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United States Senate Election in Alaska, 2004
United States Senate election in Alaska, 2004

← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
  Lisa Murkowski.jpg GovTonyKnowles.jpg
Nominee Lisa Murkowski Tony Knowles
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 149,773 140,424
Percentage 48.6% 45.6%

The 2004 United States Senate election in Alaska took place on November 2, 2004, alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives, various state and local elections, and the presidential election of that year. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Anchorage, sought election to her first full term after being appointed to serve out the rest of her father's unexpired term when he resigned in December 2002 to become Governor of Alaska. Her main challenger was Democratic former governor Tony Knowles, her father's predecessor as governor. Murkowski won by a slight margin.


Although Alaska is heavily Republican, popular opinion had swung against the Murkowski family because of a tax increase passed by Governor Frank Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski's father. In addition, many voters disapproved of apparent nepotism in the appointment of Lisa Murkowski to the Senate. Knowles, who as mentioned above preceded Frank Murkowski as governor, had enlisted extensive out-of-state support for his bid to take over Lisa Murkowski's Senate seat. However, veteran Republican Senator Ted Stevens taped advertisements warning Alaskans that electing a Democrat could result in fewer federal dollars for Alaska.

Democratic primary



Democratic Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tony Knowles 40,881 95.0%
Democratic Don Wright 1,080 2.5%
Democratic Theresa Obermeyer 1,045 2.4%
Total votes 43,006 100.0%

Republican primary


  • Jim Dore, aviation mechanic
  • Mike Miller, businessman, former state senator, former state representative, nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and younger brother of Terry Miller
  • Lisa Murkowski, incumbent U.S. Senator since 2002, formerly an Anchorage lawyer and member of the Alaska House
  • Wev Shea, former U.S. Attorney for Alaska


Republican Primary results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 45,710 58.1%
Republican Mike Miller 29,313 37.3%
Republican Wev Shea 2,857 3.6%
Republican Jim Dore 748 0.9%
Total votes 78,628 100.0%

General election




  • Ted Gianoutsos (I), lobbyist and activist on ANWR and veterans issues
  • Scott Kohlhaas (L), party activist and perennial candidate
  • Marc Millican (I), aviator, U.S. Air Force veteran
  • Jerry Sanders (AI), businessman, former state representative
  • Jim Sykes (G), party activist and perennial candidate


Lisa Murkowski had very low approval ratings as senator due to her father, Frank Murkowski, who at the time was the governor of Alaska with extremely low approval ratings himself. Former governor Tony Knowles ran against Murkowski. He ran as a Democrat who supported drilling in ANWR, in contrast to most Democrats. Ted Stevens tried to "rescue" her campaign and help her maintain her seat.[2]



Poll Source[3] Dates Administered Murkowski (R) Knowles (D)
KTUU October 4, 2004 45% 48%
KTUU October 18, 2004 45% 47%
McLaughlin October 28, 2004 48% 43%


United States Senate election in Alaska, 2004[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lisa Murkowski (Incumbent) 149,773 48.58% -25.91%
Democratic Tony Knowles 140,424 45.55% +25.82%
Independent Marc J. Millican 8,885 2.88%
Alaskan Independence Jerry Sanders 3,785 1.23%
Green Jim Sykes 3,053 0.99% 2.22%
Libertarian Scott A. Kohlhaas 1,240 0.40% -1.87%
Independent Ted Gianoutsas 732 0.24%
Write-ins 423 0.14%
Majority 9,349 3.03% -51.74%
Turnout 308,315
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ a b [1] Archived May 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Hulse, Carl (October 31, 2004). "THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: CONTROL OF CONGRESS; Races for House and Senate Have Been Nasty, Expensive and Focused on Local Issues". New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "Polls". RealClear Politics. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2004election.pdf

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