Lisa Murkowski

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Posted by kaori 04/16/2009 @ 00:16

Tags : lisa murkowski, alaska, states, us

News headlines
Senate defeats cloture vote on Interior nominee - New York Times
Two weeks ago, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's ranking member, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), joined Bennett in the hold. Both asked senators yesterday at the weekly Republican luncheon to defeat the cloture vote....
Begich, Murkowski team up on tanker escort bill - KTUU
Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich introduced a bill in the US Senate on Thursday that would require every oil tanker leaving the Valdez Marine Terminal to be escorted out of Prince William Sound by two response tugboats. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co....
Future teachers group chats with Murkowski - Arctic Sounder
Lisa Murkowski on April 28. Fifth-graders from Ipalook Elementary School, eighth-graders from Eben Hopson Middle School, and 11th- and 12th-graders from Barrow High School called in with their advisers and Martha Stackhouse, program director from...
Murkowski encourages fish diet for pregnant women - KTUU
Lisa Murkowski has an important message for pregnant women: "eat more fish." Murkowski spoke at a Capitol Hill event Wednesday where she touted a recently released FDA report that shows pregnant women should be eating more fish....
More-Nutritious Choices for Kids Who Skip the Cafeteria? - Washington Post
Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced a bill that would allow the US Department of Agriculture to regulate foods sold in school vending machines. Lunches served in school cafeterias must comply with federal dietary guidelines,...
High price of plastic - Anchorage Daily News
Lisa Murkowski is a likely yes vote, depending on amendments, according to spokesman Michael Brumas. • Prohibit retroactive interest rate and fee increases on existing balances. • Prohibit any increase in interest rates during the first year after a...
Palin's popularity drops, Murkowski's numbers up - KTUU
Lisa Murkowski's numbers are headed up. The numbers are from the Hays' Research Group. Political researchers often dispute numbers but Channel 2 News talked with two researchers Thursday who say the Hays Polls match what they're seeing....
Alaska News Nightly: May 13, 2009 - Alaska Public Radio Network
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski helped lead the Republican charge Wednesday to block President Obama's nominee for a top Interior Department post. David Hayes's confirmation as Deputy Interior Secretary has been stalled for months - Murkowski recently...
WA, Alaska lawmakers urge more spending on ferries - KTUU
Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, and Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, would nearly triple ferry spending, to $200 million a year. Washington state has the largest ferry system in the country, with over 25 million riders a year....
Kyl Seeks to Peel Off Conflicted Democrats -
Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young , both Republicans from Alaska, took advantage of a chance encounter on the Capitol steps last month to express concern to their home-state colleague, freshman Democratic Sen. Mark Begich , about a critical part of the...

Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Ann Murkowski (born May 22, 1957) is the senior U.S. Senator from the State of Alaska. Murkowski, a Republican, is the only woman ever elected to Congress from her state, in addition to being the first Senator born in Alaska.

Murkowski was born in Ketchikan, Alaska to Nancy R. Gore and Frank Murkowski. Her paternal grandfather was of Polish descent and her mother's side was Irish. As a child, she and her family moved all over the state due to her father's job. Frank Murkowski worked in the banking industry until he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980. Lisa earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980, and a Juris Doctor from Willamette University College of Law in 1985. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.

She became a member of the Alaska Bar Association in 1987. She was an attorney in Anchorage, Alaska from 1985 to 1998. She also served, from 1990 to 1991, on the mayor's task force on the homeless.

In 1998, she was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives and named as House Majority Leader for the 2003–2004 session. Murkowski sat on the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education and chaired both the Labor and Commerce and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committees. In 1999 she introduced legislation establishing a Joint Armed Services Committee.

Murkowski is married to Verne Martell. She has two children, Nic and Matt. Her father, Frank Murkowski, was Governor of Alaska from 2002 to 2006 in addition to being her immediate predecessor in the Senate.

Murkowski, while a member of the state House, was appointed by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, to his own unexpired Senate seat in December 2002, which he had vacated after being elected governor. She was subsequently elected to a full six-year term against former Governor Tony Knowles in the 2004 election, after winning a primary challenge by a large margin. Near the end of the general campaign, senior senator Ted Stevens shot campaign ads for Murkowski and warned the public that if a Democrat replaced Murkowski they were likely to receive fewer federal dollars.

Murkowski supports stem cell research. She is also a member of the Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans For Choice, and The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice women Republicans.

In July 2007, Murkowski stated she would sell back land she bought from Anchorage businessman Bob Penney, a day after a Washington watchdog group filed a Senate ethics complaint against her, alleging that Penney sold the property well below market value. The Anchorage Daily News noted, "The transaction amounted to an illegal gift worth between $70,000 and $170,000, depending on how the property was valued, according to the complaint by the National Legal and Policy Center." According to the Associated Press, Murkowski bought the land from two developers tied to the Ted Stevens probe.

In 2008, Murkowski amended her Senate financial disclosures for 2004 through 2006, adding income of $60,000 per year from the sale of a property in 2003, and more than $40,000 a year from the sale of her "Alaska Pasta Company" in 2005.

Murkowski is considered a moderate Republican. She is one of ten Republican Senators who refused to commit to Bill Frist's "nuclear option" to end judicial filibusters, and she supported H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would have permitted the Secretary of Health and Human Services to support taxpayer-funded research on stem cells. Congress passed the bill, but President George W. Bush vetoed it.

Murkowski voted with Democrats and moderate Republicans on H.R. 976, which called for the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide coverage for additional uninsured children. That bill passed both the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by President Bush. She supports health care reforms in her native state as well, largely because health care costs for Alaskans are up to 70% higher than costs in the continental United States.

On abortion, Murkowski has a "mixed record" rating (50%) from the National Right to Life Committee, and a pro-life rating (14%) from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).

On voting rights, Murkowski supported the Republican leadership's continued denial of representation in the Congress for DC, voting against bringing the DC Voting Rights Act to the floor.

Most Democrats and some moderate Republicans oppose Arctic oil drilling because of concerns about environmental damage. Murkowski believes that recent technological developments make it possible to drill without incurring such damage.

On December 14, 2007, the Senate passed an energy bill that, among other things, encourages the use of renewable fuels. The legislation, which Murkowski supported, raises the renewable fuels standard to require the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, compared to the current production of about 7 billion gallons a year.

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Alaska superimposed over the contiguous United States

Alaska ( /əˈlæskə/ (help·info), Russian: Аляска Alyaska) is the largest state of the United States of America by area; it is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. As of 2007, Alaska remains the least densely populated state, with a population of 683,478 with approximately 50% residing along the Anchorage metropolitan areas.

The area that became Alaska was purchased from the Russian Empire after Western Union discontinued construction of its first electric telegraph line which ran from California, up the coast of North America, across the Bering Strait, continuing to Moscow and into the European telegraph network. Despite $3 million in U.S. investment for the Russian-American telegraph expedition, work ceased upon the completion of the competing Transatlantic telegraph cable. The U.S. realized the potential of continuing the line to Moscow and sent Secretary of State William H. Seward to negotiate with the Russian Ambassador to fund the remaining phases of the telegraph line. Russia did not see the potential in funding, so Alaska was offered in exchange for the value of the Russian-American telegraph. The Russians feared that if they did not sell Russian North America, it would be taken from them by the westward expansion of the United States and Canada. They tried to play one potential purchaser off against the other to start a bidding war, but were largely unsuccessful.

The U.S. Senate approved the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million at two cents per acre, about five cents per hectare. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory on May 11, 1912 and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959. The name "Alaska" was already introduced in the Russian colonial time, when it was used only for the peninsula and is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning "the mainland" or more literally, "the object towards which the action of the sea is directed." It is also known as Alyeska, the "great land," an Aleut word derived from the same root.

Alaska has more coastline than all the other U.S. states combined. It is the only non-contiguous U.S. state on continental North America; about 500 miles (800 km) of British Columbia (Canada) separate Alaska from Washington state. Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States. It is technically part of the continental U.S., but is often not included in colloquial use; Alaska is not part of the contiguous U.S., often called "the Lower 48." Juneau, Alaska's capital city, though located on the mainland of the North American continent, is inaccessible by land—no roads connect Juneau to the rest of the North American highway system.

The state is bordered by the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada, to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Alaska's territorial waters touch Russia's territorial waters in the Bering Strait, as the Russian and Alaskan islands are only 3 miles (4.8 km) apart. As it extends into the eastern hemisphere, it is technically both the western-most and eastern-most state in the United States, as well as also being the nothern-most.

Alaska is the largest state in the United States in land area at 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2), much larger than Texas, the next largest state. Geologists have identified Alaska as part of Wrangellia, a large region consisting of multiple states and Canadian provinces in the Pacific Northwest which is actively undergoing continent building. Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign countries.

Counting territorial waters, Alaska is larger than the combined area of the next three largest states: Texas, California, and Montana. It is also larger than the combined area of the 22 smallest U.S. states.

The northeast corner of Alaska is dominated by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which covers 19,049,236 acres (77,090 km2). Much of the northwest is covered by the larger National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, which covers around 23,000,000 acres (93,100 km2). The Arctic is Alaska's most remote wilderness. A location in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska is 120 miles (190 km) from any town or village, the geographic point most remote from permanent habitation on the US mainland. The Rat Islands region in the Western Aleutians is more than 200 miles (320 km) from the tiny settlements of Attu and Adak, and may be the loneliest place in the United States. In 1971 the U.S. exploded an atomic bomb underground here, on Amchitka Island.

With its myriad islands, Alaska has nearly 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of tidal shoreline. The Aleutian Islands chain extends west from the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Many active volcanoes are found in the Aleutians. Unimak Island, for example, is home to Mount Shishaldin, which is an occasionally smoldering volcano that rises to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above the North Pacific. It is the most perfect volcanic cone on Earth, even more symmetrical than Japan's Mount Fuji. The chain of volcanoes extends to Mount Spurr, west of Anchorage on the mainland. Alaska has the most volcanoes of any of the fifty US states.

Alaska has more than three million lakes. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,747 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands). Frozen water, in the form of glacier ice, covers some 16,000 square miles (41,440 km2) of land and 1,200 square miles (3,110 km2) of tidal zone. The Bering Glacier complex near the southeastern border with Yukon, Canada, covers 2,250 square miles (5,827 km2) alone. With over 100,000 of them, Alaska has half of the world's glacier's.

The International Date Line jogs west of 180° to keep the whole state, and thus the entire North American continent, within the same legal day.

According to an October 1998 report by the United States Bureau of Land Management, approximately 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the U.S. federal government as public lands, including a multitude of national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges. Of these, the Bureau of Land Management manages 87 million acres (350,000 km²), or 23.8% of the state. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the world's largest wildlife refuge, comprising 16 million acres (65,000 km2).

Of the remaining land area, the State of Alaska owns 101 million acres (410,000 km2); another 44 million acres (180,000 km2) are owned by 12 regional and dozens of local Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Thus, indirectly, the 84,000 Eskimo, Aleut and American Indian inhabitants of Alaska own one-ninth of the state. Various private interests own the remaining land, totaling about one percent of the state.

Alaska is administratively divided into "boroughs," as opposed to "counties" or "parishes." The function is the same, but whereas some states use a three-tiered system of decentralization—state/county/township—most of Alaska uses only two tiers—state/borough. Owing to the low population density, most of the land is located in the Unorganized Borough which, as the name implies, has no intermediate borough government of its own, but is administered directly by the state government. Currently (2000 census) 57.71% of Alaska's area has this status, with 13.05% of the population. For statistical purposes the United States Census Bureau divides this territory into census areas. Anchorage merged the city government with the Greater Anchorage Area Borough in 1971 to form the Municipality of Anchorage, containing the city proper and the bedroom communities of Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek, Girdwood, Bird, and Indian. Fairbanks has a separate borough (the Fairbanks North Star Borough) and municipality (the City of Fairbanks).

The climate in Juneau and the southeast panhandle is a mid-latitude oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) in the southern sections and a subarctic oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc) in the northern parts. On an annual basis, the panhandle is both the wettest and warmest part of Alaska with milder temperatures in the winter and high precipitation throughout the year. Juneau averages over 50 inches (1,270 mm) of precipitation a year, while other areas receive over 275 inches (6,990 mm). This is also the only region in Alaska in which the average daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter months.

The climate of Anchorage and south central Alaska is mild by Alaskan standards due to the region's proximity to the seacoast. While the area gets less rain than southeast Alaska, it gets more snow, and days tend to be clearer. On average, Anchorage receives 16 inches (406 mm) of precipitation a year, with around 75 inches (1,905 mm) of snow, although there are areas in the south central which receive far more snow. It is a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) due to its brief, cool summers.

The climate of Western Alaska is determined in large part by the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. It is a subarctic oceanic climate in the southwest and a continental subarctic climate farther north. The temperature is somewhat moderate considering how far north the area is. This area has a tremendous amount of variety in precipitation. The northern side of the Seward Peninsula is technically a desert with less than 10 inches (250 mm) of precipitation annually, while some locations between Dillingham and Bethel average around 100 inches (2,540 mm) of precipitation.

The climate of the interior of Alaska is best described as extreme and is a good example of a true subarctic climate. Some of the highest and lowest temperatures in Alaska occur around the area near Fairbanks. The summers can have temperatures reaching into the 90s°F (the low to mid 30s °C), while in the winter, the temperature can fall below −60 °F (-52 °C). Precipitation is sparse in the Interior, often less than 10 inches (250 mm) a year, but what precipitation falls in the winter tends to stay the entire winter.

The highest and lowest recorded temperatures in Alaska are both in the Interior. The highest is 100 °F (38 °C) in Fort Yukon (which is just 8 miles (13 km) inside the arctic circle) on June 27, 1915, tied with Pahala, Hawaii as the lowest high temperature in the United States. The lowest official Alaska temperature is −80 °F (-62 °C) in Prospect Creek on January 23, 1971, one degree above the lowest temperature recorded in continental North America (in Snag, Yukon, Canada).

The climate in the extreme north of Alaska is as expected for an area north of the Arctic Circle. It is an Arctic climate (Köppen ET) with long, very cold winters and short, cool summers. Even in July, the average low temperature is barely above freezing in Barrow, at 34 °F (1 °C). Precipitation is light in this part of Alaska, with many places averaging less than 10 inches (250 mm) per year, mostly in the form of snow which stays on the ground almost the entire year.

The first European contact with Alaska occurred in the year 1741, when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter. After his crew returned to Russia bearing sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784, and the Russian-American Company carried out an expanded colonization program during the early to mid-1800s. New Archangel on Kodiak Island was Alaska's first capital, but for a century under both Russia and the U.S. Sitka was the capital. The Russians never fully colonized Alaska, and the colony was never very profitable. William H. Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State, negotiated the Alaskan purchase in 1867 for $7.2 million. Alaska was loosely governed by the military for years, and was unofficially a territory of the United States from 1884 on.

In the 1890s, gold rushes in Alaska and the nearby Yukon Territory brought thousands of miners and settlers to Alaska. Alaska was granted official territorial status in 1912. At this time the capital was moved to Juneau.

During World War II, the Aleutian Islands Campaign focused on the three outer Aleutian Islands — Attu, Agattu and Kiska - that were invaded by Japanese troops and occupied between June 1942 and August 1943. Unalaska/Dutch Harbor became a significant base for the U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy submariners.

The U.S. Lend-Lease program involved flying American warplanes through Canada to Fairbanks and thence Nome; Russian pilots took possession of these aircraft, ferrying them to fight the German invasion of Russia. The construction of military bases contributed to the population growth of some Alaskan cities.

Statehood was approved in 1958. Alaska was officially proclaimed a state on January 3, 1959.

In 1964, the massive "Good Friday Earthquake" killed 131 people and destroyed several villages, many by the resultant tsunamis. It was the second most powerful earthquake in the recorded history of the world, with a moment magnitude of 9.2. It was 100 times more powerful than the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. Luckily, the epicenter was in an unpopulated area or thousands more would have been killed.

The 1968 discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the 1977 completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline led to an oil boom. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Prince William Sound, spilling over 11 million US gallons of crude oil over 1,100 miles (1,600 km) of coastline. Today, the battle between philosophies of development and conservation is seen in the contentious debate over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alaska's population at 686,293, which represents an increase of 59,362, or 9.5%, since the last census in 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 60,994 people (that is 86,062 births minus 25,068 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 5,469 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 4,418 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 9,887 people. In 2000 Alaska ranked 48th out of 50 states by population. Alaska is the least densely populated state, and one of the most sparsely-populated areas in the world, at 1.0 people per square mile (0.42/km²), with the next state, Wyoming, at 5.1 per square mile (1.97/km²). It is the largest U.S. state by area, and the 6th wealthiest (per capita income).

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 69.3% of single-race Alaska residents were caucasian and 15.6% were Native American or Alaska Native, the largest proportion of any state. Multiracial/Mixed-Race people are the third largest group of people in the state, totaling 6.9% of the population. The largest self-reported ancestry groups in the state are German (16.6%), Alaska Native or American Indian (15.6%), Irish (10.8%), British (9.6%), American (5.7%), and Norwegian (4.2%).

The vast sparsely populated regions of northern and western Alaska are primarily inhabited by Alaska Natives, who are also numerous in the southeast. Anchorage, Fairbanks, and other parts of south-central and southeast Alaska have many whites of northern and western European ancestry. The Wrangell-Petersburg area has many residents of Scandinavian ancestry and the Aleutians contain a large Filipino population. Most of the state's black population lives in Anchorage, though Fairbanks also has a sizable black population.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 85.7% of Alaska residents aged 5 and older speak English at home. The next most common languages are Spanish (2.88%), Yupik (2.87%), Filipino (1.54%), and Iñupiaq (1.06%). A total of 5.2% of Alaskans speak one of the state's 22 indigenous languages, known locally as Native American languages, of which most are moribund.

Alaska has been identified, along with Pacific Northwest states Washington and Oregon, as being the least religious in the U.S. According to statistics collected by the Association of Religion Data Archives, only about 39% of Alaska residents were members of religious congregations. Evangelical Protestants had 78,070 members, Roman Catholics had 54,359, and mainline Protestants had 37,156. After Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, the largest single denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons/LDS) with 29,460, Southern Baptists with 22,959, and Orthodox with 20,000. The large Eastern Orthodox (with 49 parishes and up to 50,000 followers, population is a result of early Russian colonization and missionary work among Alaska Natives. In 1795, the First Russian Orthodox Church was established in Kodiak. Intermarriage with Alaskan Natives helped the Russian immigrants integrate into society. As a result, more and more Russian Orthodox churches gradually became established within Alaska. Alaska also has the largest Quaker population (by percentage) of any state. In 2003 there were 3,000 Jews in Alaska (for whom observance of the mitzvah may pose special problems). Estimates for the number of Alaskan Muslims range from 2,000 to 5,000. Hindus are also represented through a number of temples and associations and adherents number over one thousand. Alaskan Hindus often share venues and celebrations with members of other religious communities including Sikhs and Jains.

The 2005 gross state product was $39.9 billion, 45th in the nation. Its per-capita GSP for 2006 was $43,748, 7th in the nation. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan economy, with more than 80% of the state's revenues derived from petroleum extraction. Alaska's main export product (excluding oil and natural gas) is seafood, primarily salmon, cod, Pollock and crab. Agriculture represents only a fraction of the Alaskan economy. Agricultural production is primarily for consumption within the state and includes nursery stock, dairy products, vegetables, and livestock. Manufacturing is limited, with most foodstuffs and general goods imported from elsewhere. Employment is primarily in government and industries such as natural resource extraction, shipping, and transportation. Military bases are a significant component of the economy in both Fairbanks and Anchorage. Federal subsidies are also an important part of the economy, allowing the state to keep taxes low. Its industrial outputs are crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, zinc and other mining, seafood processing, timber and wood products. There is also a growing service and tourism sector. Tourists have contributed to the economy by supporting local lodging.

Alaska has vast energy resources. Major oil and gas reserves are found in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) and Cook Inlet basins. According to the Energy Information Administration, Alaska ranks second in the nation in crude oil production. Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope is the highest yielding oil field in the United States and on North America, typically producing about 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m³/d). The Trans-Alaska Pipeline can pump up to 2.1 million barrels (330,000 m3) of crude oil per day, more than any other crude oil pipeline in the United States. Additionally, substantial coal deposits are found in Alaska’s bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal basins. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there are 85.4 trillion cubic feet (2,420 km3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas from natural gas hydrates on the Alaskan North Slope. Alaska also offers some of the highest hydroelectric power potential in the country from its numerous rivers. Large swaths of the Alaskan coastline offer wind and geothermal energy potential as well.

Alaska's economy depends heavily on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for heating, transportation, electric power and light. Though wind and hydroelectric power are abundant and underutilized, proposals for state-wide energy systems (e.g. with special low-cost electric interties) were judged uneconomical (at the time of the report, 2001) due to low (<$0.50/Gal) fuel prices, long distances and low population. The cost of a gallon of gas in urban Alaska today is usually $0.30-$0.60 higher than the national average; prices in rural areas are generally significantly higher but vary widely depending on transportation costs, seasonal usage peaks, nearby petroleum development infrastructure and many other factors.

Alaska accounts for 1/5 (20%) of domestically produced United States oil production. Prudhoe Bay (North America's largest oil field) alone accounts for 8% of the United States domestic oil production.

The Alaska Permanent Fund is a legislatively controlled appropriation established in 1976 to manage a surplus in state petroleum revenues from the recently constructed Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. From its initial principal of $734,000, the fund has grown to $40 billion as a result of oil royalties and capital investment programs. Starting in 1982, dividends from the fund's annual growth have been paid out each year to eligible Alaskans, ranging from $331.29 in 1984 to $3,269.00 in 2008 (which included a one-time $1200 "Resource Rebate"). Every year, the state legislature takes out 8 percent from the earnings, puts 3 percent back into the principal for inflation proofing, and the remaining 5 percent is distributed to all qualifying Alaskans. To qualify for the Alaska State Permanent Fund one must have lived in the state for a minimum of 12 months, and maintain constant residency.

The cost of goods in Alaska has long been higher than in the contiguous 48 states. This has changed for the most part in Anchorage and to a lesser extent in Fairbanks, where the cost of living has dropped somewhat in the past five years. Federal government employees, particularly United States Postal Service (USPS) workers and active-duty military members, receive a Cost of Living Allowance usually set at 25% of base pay because, while the cost of living has gone down, it is still one of the highest in the country.

The introduction of big-box stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks (Wal-Mart in March 2004), and Juneau also did much to lower prices. However, rural Alaska suffers from extremely high prices for food and consumer goods, compared to the rest of the country due to the relatively limited transportation infrastructure. Many rural residents come into these cities and purchase food and goods in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Some have embraced the free shipping offers of some online retailers to purchase items much more cheaply than they could in their own communities, if they are available at all.

Due to the northern climate and steep terrain, relatively little farming occurs in Alaska. Most farms are in either the Matanuska Valley, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Anchorage, or on the Kenai Peninsula, about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Anchorage. The short 100-day growing season limits the crops that can be grown, but the long sunny summer days make for productive growing seasons. The primary crops are potatoes, carrots, lettuce, corn, and cabbage. Farmers exhibit produce at the Alaska State Fair. "Alaskan Grown" is used as an agricultural slogan.

Alaska has an abundance of seafood, with the primary fisheries in the Bering Sea and the North Pacific, and seafood is one of the few food items that is often cheaper within the state than outside it. Many Alaskans fish the rivers during Salmon season to gather significant quantities of their household diet while fishing for subsistence, sport, or both.

Hunting for subsistence, primarily caribou, moose, and sheep is still common in the state, particularly in remote Bush communities. An example of a traditional native food is Akutaq, the Eskimo ice cream, which can consist of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat and local berries.

Most food in Alaska is transported into the state from "outside", and shipping costs make food in the cities relatively expensive. In rural areas, subsistence hunting and gathering is an essential activity because imported food is prohibitively expensive. The cost of importing food to villages begins at $0.07/lb and rises rapidly to $0.50/lb or more. The cost of delivering a 7-pound gallon of milk is about $3.50 in many villages where per capita income can be $20,000 or less. Fuel for snow machines and boats that consume a couple gallons per hour can exceed $8.00.

Alaska has few road connections compared to the rest of the U.S. The state's road system covers a relatively small area of the state, linking the central population centers and the Alaska Highway, the principal route out of the state through Canada. The state capital, Juneau, is not accessible by road, only a car ferry, which has spurred several debates over the decades about moving the capital to a city on the road system, or building a road connection from Haines. The western part of Alaska has no road system connecting the communities with the rest of Alaska.

One unique feature of the Alaska Highway system is the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, an active Alaska Railroad tunnel recently upgraded to provide a paved roadway link with the isolated community of Whittier on Prince William Sound to the Seward Highway about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Anchorage. At 2.5 miles (4.0 km) the tunnel was the longest road tunnel in North America until 2007. The tunnel is the longest combination road and rail tunnel in North America.

Built around 1915, the Alaska Railroad (ARR) played a key role in the development of Alaska through the 20th century. It links north Pacific shipping through providing critical infrastructure with tracks that run from Seward to Interior Alaska via South Central Alaska, passing through Anchorage, Eklutna, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks, with spurs to Whittier, Palmer and North Pole. The cities, towns, villages, and region served by ARR tracks are known statewide as "The Railbelt". In recent years, the ever-improving paved highway system began to eclipse the railroad's importance in Alaska's economy.

The Alaska Railroad was one of the last railroads in North America to use cabooses in regular service and still uses them on some gravel trains. It continues to offer one of the last flag stop routes in the country. A stretch of about 60 miles (100 km) of track along an area north of Talkeetna remains inaccessible by road; the railroad provides the only transportation to rural homes and cabins in the area; until construction of the Parks Highway in the 1970s, the railroad provided the only land access to most of the region along its entire route.

In northern Southeast Alaska, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad also partly runs through the State from Skagway northwards into Canada (British Columbia and Yukon Territory), crossing the border at White Pass Summit. This line is now mainly used by tourists, often arriving by cruise liner at Skagway. It featured in the 1983 BBC television series Great Little Railways.

Most cities, towns and villages in the state do not have road or highway access; the only modes of access involve travel by air, river, or the sea.

Alaska's well-developed state-owned ferry system (known as the Alaska Marine Highway) serves the cities of Southeast, the Gulf Coast and the Alaska Peninsula. The system also operates a ferry service from Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Columbia in Canada via the Inside Passage to Skagway. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority also serves as an important marine link for many communities in the Prince of Wales Island region of Southeast and works in concert with the Alaska Marine Highway.

In recent years, large cruise ships began creating a summertime tourism market, mainly connecting the Pacific Northwest to Southeast Alaska and, to a lesser degree, towns along the north gulf coast. Several times each summer, the population of Ketchikan sharply rises for a few hours when two ships dock to debark more than a thousand passengers each while four other ships lie at anchor nearby, waiting their turn at the dock.

Cities not served by road or sea can be reached only by air or by hiking/dogsled, accounting for Alaska's extremely well-developed bush air services—an Alaskan novelty. Anchorage itself, and to a lesser extent Fairbanks, are serviced by many major airlines. Air travel is the cheapest and most efficient form of transportation in and out of the state. Anchorage recently completed extensive remodeling and construction at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to help accommodate the upsurge in tourism (in 2000–2001, the latest year for which data is available, 2.4 million total arrivals to Alaska were counted, 1.7 million via air travel; 1.4 million were visitors).

Regular flights to most villages and towns within the state that are commercially viable are challenging to provide, so they are heavily subsidized by the federal government through the Essential Air Service program. Alaska Airlines is the only major airline offering in-state travel with jet service (sometimes in combination cargo and passenger Boeing 737-400s) from Anchorage and Fairbanks to regional hubs like Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Dillingham, Kodiak, and other larger communities as well as to major Southeast and Alaska Peninsula communities. The bulk of remaining commercial flight offerings come from small regional commuter airlines such as Era Aviation, PenAir, and Frontier Flying Service. The smallest towns and villages must rely on scheduled or chartered bush flying services using general aviation aircraft such as the Cessna Caravan, the most popular aircraft in use in the state. Much of this service can be attributed to the Alaska bypass mail program which subsidizes bulk mail delivery to Alaskan rural communities. The program requires 70% of that subsidy to go to carriers who offer passenger service to the communities. Perhaps the most quintessentially Alaskan plane is the bush seaplane. The world's busiest seaplane base is Lake Hood, located next to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, where flights bound for remote villages without an airstrip carry passengers, cargo, and many items from stores and warehouse clubs. Alaska has the highest number of pilots per capita of any U.S. state: out of the estimated 663,661 residents, 8,550 are pilots, or about one in 78.

Another Alaskan transportation method is the dogsled. In modern times (that is, any time after the mid-late 1920s), dog mushing is more of a sport than a true means of transportation. Various races are held around the state, but the best known is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a 1150-mile (1850 km) trail from Anchorage to Nome (although the mileage varies from year to year, the official distance is set at 1049 miles). The race commemorates the famous 1925 serum run to Nome in which mushers and dogs like Togo and Balto took much-needed medicine to the diphtheria-stricken community of Nome when all other means of transportation had failed. Mushers from all over the world come to Anchorage each March to compete for cash, prizes, and prestige. The "Serum Run" is another sled dog race that more accurately follows the route of the famous 1925 relay, leaving from the community of Nenana (southwest of Fairbanks) to Nome.

President Dwight Eisenhower admitted in his autobiography that he pushed to have Alaska admitted into the union as a state, partially because he wanted an American win in the 1959 World Sled Dog Championships, held in Finland. The previous W.S.D.C. titles had been won by the Soviet Union.

In areas not served by road or rail, primary transportation in summer is by all-terrain vehicle and in winter by snowmobile or "snow machine," as it is commonly referred to in Alaska.

Like all other U.S. states, Alaska is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: an executive branch consisting of the Governor of Alaska and the other independently elected constitutional officers; a legislative branch consisting of the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate; and a judicial branch consisting of the Alaska Supreme Court and lower courts.

The State of Alaska employs approximately 15,000 employees statewide.

The Alaska Legislature consists of a 40-member House of Representatives and a 20-member Senate. Senators serve four year terms and House members two. The Governor of Alaska serves four-year terms. The lieutenant governor runs separately from the governor in the primaries, but during the general election, the nominee for governor and nominee for lieutenant governor run together on the same ticket.

Alaska's court system has four levels: the Alaska Supreme Court, the court of appeals, the superior courts and the district courts. The superior and district courts are trial courts. Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction, while district courts only hear certain types of cases, including misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases valued up to $100,000. The Supreme Court and the Court Of Appeals are appellate courts. The Court Of Appeals is required to hear appeals from certain lower-court decisions, including those regarding criminal prosecutions, juvenile delinquency, and habeas corpus. The Supreme Court hears civil appeals and may in its discretion hear criminal appeals.

Alaska has been characterized as a Republican-leaning state with strong libertarian tendencies. Local political communities have often worked on issues related to land use development, fishing, tourism, and individual rights. Alaska Natives, while organized in and around their communities, have been active within the Native corporations. These have been given ownership over large tracts of land, which require stewardship.

Alaska is the only state in which possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is completely legal under state law, though the federal law remains in force.

The state has possessed an independence movement favoring secession from the United States, with the Alaska Independence Party labeled as one of "the most significant state-level third parties operating in the 20th century".

Most Alaskan governors have been conservatives, generally Republicans, but some have not always been elected under the official Republican banner. For example, Republican Governor Wally Hickel was elected to the office for a second term in 1990 after leaving the Republican ship and briefly joining the Alaskan Independence Party ticket just long enough to be reelected. He subsequently officially rejoined the Republican fold in 1994.

To finance state government operations, Alaska depends primarily on petroleum revenues and federal subsidies. This allows it to have the lowest individual tax burden in the United States, and be one of only five states with no state sales tax, one of seven states that do not levy an individual income tax, and one of two states that has neither. The Department of Revenue Tax Division reports regularly on the state's revenue sources. The Department also issues an annual overview of its operations, including new state laws that directly affect the tax division.

While Alaska has no state sales tax, 89 municipalities collect a local sales tax, from 1% to 7.5%, typically 3% to 5%. Other local taxes levied include raw fish taxes, hotel, motel, and B&B 'bed' taxes, severance taxes, liquor and tobacco taxes, gaming (pull tabs) taxes, tire taxes and fuel transfer taxes. A percentage of revenue collected from certain state taxes and license fees (such as petroleum, aviation motor fuel, telephone cooperative) is shared with municipalities in Alaska.

Fairbanks has one of the highest property taxes in the state as no sales or income taxes are assessed in the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB). A sales tax for the FNSB has been voted on many times, but has yet to be approved, leading law makers to increase taxes dramatically on other goods such as liquor and tobacco.

In 2008 the Tax Foundation ranked Alaska as having the 4th most "business friendly" tax policy. More "friendly" states were Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota.

In presidential elections, the state's electoral college votes have been won by the Republican nominee in every election since statehood, except for 1964. No state has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate fewer times. Alaska supported Democratic nominee Lyndon B. Johnson in the landslide year of 1964, although the 1960 and 1968 elections were close. Republican John McCain defeated Democrat Barack Obama in Alaska, 59.49% to 37.83%. McCain's running mate was Sarah Palin, the state's governor and the first Alaskan on a major party ticket. The Alaska Bush, the city of Juneau and midtown and downtown Anchorage have been strongholds of the Democratic party. Matanuska-Susitna Borough and South Anchorage typically have the strongest Republican showing. As of 2004, well over half of all registered voters have chosen "Non-Partisan" or "Undeclared" as their affiliation, despite recent attempts to close primaries.

Because of its population relative to other U.S. states, Alaska has only one member in the U.S. House of Representatives. This seat is currently being held by Republican Don Young, who was re-elected to his 19th consecutive term in 2008.

On November 19, 2008, long time Republican senator Ted Stevens was defeated by Democratic Anchorage mayor Mark Begich. Stevens had been convicted on seven felony counts of failing to report gifts on Senate financial discloser forms one week prior to the election. The conviction was set aside in April 2009 after evidence of prosecutorial misconduct emerged.

Republican Frank Murkowski held the state's other senatorial position. After being elected governor in 2002, he resigned from the Senate and appointed his daughter, State Representative Lisa Murkowski as his successor. In response to a subsequent ballot initiative, the state legislature attempted to amend the law to limit the length of gubernatorial appointments. She won a full six-year term in 2004. In 2006 Frank Murkowski was defeated in the Republican primary by Sarah Palin, who in 2008 became the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States.

Alaska is not divided into counties, as most of the other U.S. states, but it is divided into boroughs. Many of the more densely populated parts of the state are part of Alaska's sixteen boroughs, which function somewhat similarly to counties in other states. However, unlike county-equivalents in the other 49 states, the boroughs do not cover the entire land area of the state. The area not part of any borough is referred to as the Unorganized Borough. The Unorganized Borough has no government of its own, but the U.S. Census Bureau in cooperation with the state divided the Unorganized Borough into 11 census areas solely for the purposes of statistical analysis and presentation. A recording district is a mechanism for administration of the public record in Alaska. The state is divided into 34 recording districts which are centrally administered under a State Recorder. All recording districts use the same acceptance criteria, fee schedule, etc., for accepting documents into the public record.

The state's most populous city is Anchorage, home to 278,700 people in 2006, 225,744 of whom live in the urbanized area. The richest location in Alaska by per capita income is Halibut Cove ($89,895). Sitka, Juneau, and Anchorage are the three largest cities in the U.S. by area.

Alaska has many smaller towns, especially in the Alaska Bush, the portion of the state that is inaccessible by road.

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development administers many school districts in Alaska. In addition, the state operates several boarding schools, including Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Nenana Student Living Center in Nenana, and Galena High School in Galena.

There are more than a dozen colleges and universities in Alaska. Accredited universities in Alaska include the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Southeast, and Alaska Pacific University. 43% of the population attends or attended college.

Alaska has had a problem with a "brain drain". Many of its young people, including most of the highest academic achievers, leave the state after high school graduation and do not return. The University of Alaska has attempted to combat this by offering partial four-year scholarships to the top 10% of Alaska high school graduates, via the Alaska Scholars Program.

Alaska residents have long had a problem with alcohol use and abuse. Many rural communities in Alaska have outlawed its import. This problem directly relates to Alaska's high rate of Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) as well as contributing to the high rate of suicides and teenage pregnancies. Suicide rates for rural residents are higher than urban.

Domestic abuse and other violent crimes are also at high levels in the state; this is in part linked to alcohol abuse.

Some of Alaska's popular annual events are the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome, World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, the Alaska Hummingbird Festival in Ketchikan, the Sitka Whale Fest, and the Stikine River Garnet Fest in Wrangell. The Stikine River features the largest springtime concentration of American Bald Eagles in the world.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the rich heritage of Alaska's 11 cultural groups. Their purpose is to enhance self-esteem among Native people and to encourage cross-cultural exchanges among all people. The Alaska Native Arts Foundation promotes and markets Native art from all regions and cultures in the State, both on the internet; at its gallery in Anchorage, 500 West Sixth Avenue, and at the Alaska House New York, 109 Mercer Street in SoHo.

Alaska Natives -- Inuit, Inupiaq or Yupik drummers and dancers -- give informal performances in the lobby of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage on weekday evenings.

The four main libraries in the state are the Alaska State Library in Juneau, the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library in Fairbanks, the Z. J. Loussac Library in Anchorage, and the UAA/APU Consortium Library, also in Anchorage. Alaska is one of three states (the others are Delaware and Rhode Island) that does not have a Carnegie library.

Influences on music in Alaska include the traditional music of Alaska Natives as well as folk music brought by later immigrants from Russia and Europe. Prominent musicians from Alaska include singer Jewel, traditional Aleut flautist Mary Youngblood, folk singer-songwriter Libby Roderick, metal/post hardcore band 36 Crazyfists and the group Pamyua.

There are many established music festivals in Alaska, including the Alaska Folk Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival the Anchorage Folk Festival, the Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival, the Sitka Jazz Festival, and the Sitka Summer Music Festival. The most prominent symphony in Alaska is the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, though the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Juneau Symphony are also notable. The Anchorage Opera is currently the state's only professional opera company, though there are several volunteer and semi-professional organizations in the state as well.

The official state song of Alaska is "Alaska's Flag", which was adopted in 1955; it celebrates the flag of Alaska.

Alaska's first independent picture all made on place was in the silent years. The Chechahcos, was released in 1924 by the Alaska Moving Picture Corp. It was the only film the company made.

One of the most prominent movies filmed in Alaska is MGM's Academy Award winning classic Eskimo/Mala The Magnificent starring Alaska's own Ray Mala. In 1932 an expedition set out from MGM's studios in Hollywood to Alaska to film what was then billed as "The Biggest Picture Ever Made." Upon arriving in Alaska, they set up "Camp Hollywood" in Northwest Alaska, where they lived during the duration of the filming. Louis B. Mayer spared no expense in making sure they had everything they needed during their stay -- he even sent the famous chef from the Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Blvd (the site of the first Oscars) with them to Alaska to cook for them. When Eskimo premiered at the famed Astor Theatre in Times Square, New York, the studio received the largest amount of feedback in the history of the studio up to that time. Eskimo was critically acclaimed and released worldwide; as a result Inupiat Eskimo actor Ray Mala became an international movie star. Eskimo is significant for the following: winning the very first Oscar for Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards, for forever preserving Inupiat culture on film, and for being the first motion picture to be filmed in an all native language (Inupiat).

The psychological thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams was extensively shot in Canada, but was set in Alaska. The 2007 horror feature 30 Days of Night is set in Barrow, Alaska but was filmed in New Zealand. Most films and television shows set in Alaska are not filmed there; for example, Northern Exposure, set in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, was actually filmed in Roslyn, Washington.

The 1983 Disney movie Never Cry Wolf was at least partially shot in Alaska. The 1991 film "White Fang", starring Ethan Hawke, was filmed in and around Haines, Alaska. The 1999 John Sayles film Limbo, starring David Strathairn, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Kris Kristofferson, was filmed in Juneau. Sean Penn filmed large portions of the film Into the Wild on location in Alaska.

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List of United States Senators from Alaska

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Alaska was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959. Alaska's senators belong to Class II and Class III. Its current senators are Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich.

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United States Senate election in Alaska, 2004

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The 2004 United States Senate election in the state of Alaska was held on November 2, 2004. The incumbent was Republican Lisa Murkowski of Anchorage, who was seeking election to her first full term after being appointed to serve out the rest of her father's unexpired Senate term when he resigned in December 2004 to become Governor of Alaska. Her main challenger was Democratic former governor Tony Knowles.

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 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 less federal dollars for Alaska.

Knowles lost the election by less than 3% after staying in a statistical dead heat with Lisa Murkowski in opinion polling throughout the summer. Independent candidate Marc Millican placed third.

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United States Senate elections, 2010

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Elections to the United States Senate will be held on November 2, 2010, with at least 36 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate being contested. Thirty-four of these are to six-year terms, from January 3, 2011 to January 3, 2017. They will join Senate Class III, which traces its roots back to the senators who served full six-year terms from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1795. Elections to the United States House of Representatives as well as some state and local elections will occur on the same date.

In addition to the 34 senators in Class III, there will be two special elections in 2010 to fill unexpired terms. One of these elections will be in Delaware to fill the last four years of the Class II seat previously held by Vice President Joe Biden. In 2008, Biden was simultaneously reelected to his seat in the U.S. Senate, a seat he had held since 1972. His resignation from the Senate seat resulted in Democratic then- Governor Ruth Ann Minner appointing Democrat Ted Kaufman to the seat until November 2010. Kaufman has since stated that he will not run for the unexpired term in 2010. This seat will again be up for election in 2014 for a full six-year term. The other special election will be held for New York's Class I seat previously held by by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton was reelected to her second term in 2006 but was confirmed as Secretary of State in January 2009, which resulted in Democratic Governor David Paterson appointing Democratic U.S. Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to the seat until November 2010. Gillibrand has stated that she will run for the unexpired term in 2010. This seat will again be up for election in 2012 for a full six-year term.

The current composition of the U.S. Senate going into the 2010 elections is a result of the 2008 elections, in which Democrats gained eight seats. The U.S. Senate is currently composed of 56 Democrats, 41 Republicans, and two Independents—Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, both of whom caucus with the Democrats—and one outstanding seat in Minnesota. Of the seats expected to be up for election in 2010, 19 are held by Republicans and 17 by Democrats.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey has stated he does not expect any other Democratic retirements besides Ted Kaufman.

Democratic Senator Joe Biden was simultaneously reelected to the U.S. Senate and elected Vice President of the United States on November 4, 2008. Although Biden was sworn in for his seventh term on January 6, 2009, he tendered his resignation effective January 15 in preparation for taking office as Vice President on January 20, 2009.

On November 24, 2008, former Democratic Governor Ruth Ann Minner announced Biden would be replaced by Democrat Ted Kaufman, his former chief of staff, sometime in January 2009. He was subsequently sworn in on January 16. A special election for the remainder of the term, which expires on January 3, 2015, will be held in 2010. Kaufman announced that he will not be a candidate in the special election.

Christine O'Donnell, the Republican nominee who ran against and lost to Joe Biden in 2008, has announced that she will run again. Former Republican Governor and U.S. Representative Mike Castle, who represents the state at large in the U.S. House, is also considering a run.

On the Democratic side, Vice President Biden's son Beau, the current Attorney General of Delaware who is serving in active duty in Iraq, is considering a run and would be an early favorite to win the nomination for his father's seat.

President Obama won Delaware with 62% of the vote in 2008.

The seat will be up for election again in 2014 for a full six-year term.

Four-term incumbent Republican Senator Kit Bond was reelected with 56 percent of the vote in 2004. He will be 71 years old in 2010. He has announced that he will not seek reelection, creating a vacancy.

Republican U.S. Representative Roy Blunt, who represents Missouri's 7th congressional district (Southwest Missouri) in the U.S. House, has announced his candidacy. Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who sought but narrowly lost the Republican gubernatorial nomination in August 2008 to Kenny Hulshof, is also considering a run for the Republican nomination.. Former U.S. Senator Jim Talent, who unseated in 2006 by Democrat Claire McCaskill, has announced that he will not run.

On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (daughter of former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan and former Governor Mel Carnahan) entered the race on February 3, 2009, and is widely considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. She also enters the race as the early favorite. In 2008, Carnahan won her second term as Secretary of State with near 1.7 million votes, the most votes ever cast for a single candidate in Missouri state history.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain narrowly defeated President Obama 49.43% to 49.29% in 2008.

Former 2008 Republican presidential candidate and two-term incumbent Sen. Sam Brownback has stated that he will not run for reelection in 2010 because of self-imposed term limits.

On the Republican side, U.S. Representative Jerry Moran of Kansas's 1st congressional district has filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for the U.S. Senate seat. Another Republican U.S. Representative, Todd Tiahrt of Kansas's 4th congressional district, has also announced his candidacy for the seat, setting up what is expected to be a bruising GOP primary.

Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who was quite popular in Kansas, was seen as a potential candidate because of term limits preventing her from seeking another term as Governor. Instead, Sebelius accepted the nomination by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, laying the possibility that she will run for the U.S. Senate to rest.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Kansas with 56.50% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Judd Gregg was reelected in 2004 with 66 percent of the vote. Gregg had originally announced his intention to run for a fourth term, but was nominated to the position of United States Secretary of Commerce by President Barack Obama in early February 2009. However, Gregg withdrew his nomination on February 12, 2009 citing "irresolvable conflicts" over policy related to the Commerce Department. Gregg has stated he will not run again.

Democratic U.S. Representative Paul Hodes is running for this seat. The state's other U.S. Representative, Carol Shea-Porter, also a Democrat, announced on Monday March 16, 2009, that she would not run for the seat. Her decision averted a primary battle against and has thus cleared the way for Hodes.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Senator John Sununu, who was ousted in 2008 by former Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen, is a potential candidate.

President Obama won New Hampshire with 54% of the vote in 2008.

Freshman Republican Senator Mel Martinez was elected in a very close race against Democrat Betty Castor in 2004 with just 49 percent of the vote. Martinez is a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the George W. Bush Administration. Martinez announced on December 2, 2008, that he would not seek a second term in the U.S. Senate.

On the Republican side, the only announced candidate is former New Hampshire U.S. Senator Bob Smith. Incumbent Governor Charlie Crist is seriously considering running for the seat, but will not announce his intentions on whether or not to run until May. Crist currently has high approval ratings in the state among Republicans and Democrats and would be considered a formidable candidate. Former Republican Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Marco Rubio is preparing for a run at the seat, though hasn't yet made a formal announcement. It was rumored that Rubio would run for Governor should Crist run for the U.S. Senate seat, but in early March, Rubio filed the paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate and has been meeting with fundraisers and supporters throughout the state. U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan, who represents Florida's 13th congressional district,, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Allan Bense,, and State House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, are also potential Republican candidates.

Some other minor candidates who are running are Bob Coggins,, a former Shores city councilman, attorney Linda Vasquez Littlefield, evangelist and consultant Gwendolyn McClellan, and physician and 2008 congressional candidate Marion Thorpe.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek, who represents Florida's 17th congressional district, State Senator Dan Gelber, North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns, Marine Corps veteran George Lovenguth, pastor Tyrone Brown, and Key West resident "Trinidad Joe" Allen have all announced their candidacies for the seat. Mayor Pam Iorio of Tampa and U.S. Representative Ron Klein of Florida's 22nd congressional district are also considering running.

President Obama won Florida with 51% of the vote in 2008. .

Two-term Republican incumbent George Voinovich was reelected with 64 percent of the vote in 2004. Voinovich, a former Mayor of Cleveland, Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Ohio, announced that he was going to retire rather than seek reelection to a third term in 2010, when he will be 74 years old.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Representative, U.S. Trade Representative and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Rob Portman announced his candidacy and appears to be the consensus choice among Republicans.

On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and State Representative Tyrone Yates have announced their candidacies. U.S. Representatives Zack Space of Ohio's 18th congressional district and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio's 9th congressional district are also possible candidates.

President Obama won Ohio with 51.5% of the vote in 2008.

Two term Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln was reelected with 56 percent of the vote in 2004. Lincoln will seek reelection and has already held a major fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden.

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin is considering running against Lincoln as a Republican. Other potential Republican candidates include former U.S. Treasury Official French Hill, investment banker Patrick Calhoun, and former Army officer Tom Cotton.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Arkansas with 59% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer was reelected with 58 percent of the vote in 2004. In February 2007, she announced that she would seek a fourth term in 2010, when she will be 70 years old.

On the Republican side, state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of California's 70th State Assembly district has announced his candidacy. Telecommunications sales executive Al Ramirez is also forming an exploratory committee to challenge Boxer. Former Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is another possible candidate.

Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ruled out a run for U.S. Senate when his term as Governor expires.

President Obama won California with 61% of the vote in 2008.

Following the resignation of first term Democratic Senator Ken Salazar to become President Barack Obama's Secretary of the Interior, Democratic Governor Bill Ritter selected Michael Bennet, the former Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, to fill Salazar's seat for the remainder of his term. Bennet has stated that he will run for a full term in 2010.

Former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Andrew Romanoff may challenge Bennet in the Democratic primary.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Representative and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, as well as former Congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, radio talk-show host Dan Caplis, and Denver businessman Cleve Tidwell are potential candidates.

President Obama won Colorado with 54% of the vote in 2008.

Five-term Democratic incumbent Christopher Dodd was reelected with 66% of the vote in 2004. Dodd is running for reelection. However, he has become politically weakened due to his failed 2008 presidential campaign, his involvement in the AIG bonus payments controversy, his receiving a "sweetheart" loan from Countrywide Financial, and his involvement with fundraiser and investor Allen Stanford, who has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme. Because of these allegations, Republicans and Democratic leaders believe Dodd is vulnerable. Democrat Roger Pearson, a former Greenwich first selectman, is a potential challenger for Dodd in the primary.

On the Republican side, former Congressman Rob Simmons and State Senator Sam Caligiuri have both announced their candidacies. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley is also considering a run.

A March 2009 poll by Quinnipiac University showed Simmons narrowly ahead of Dodd by a margin of 43 percent to 42 percent. The same poll showed Dodd ahead of Caligiuri by a margin of 47 percent to 34 percent. An April Quinnipiac poll showed Dodd losing to Simmons by 16 points and also losing to Caligiuri However, a March 2009 Research 2000 poll showed Dodd leading Simmons 45% to 40%, and Dodd leading Caligiuri 51% to 30%.

President Obama won Connecticut with 60.59% of the vote in 2008.

Eight-term incumbent Senator Daniel Inouye was reelected with 76% of the vote in 2004 and has announced that he will seek another term. He will be 86 years old in 2010.

One potential challenger is incumbent Republican Governor Linda Lingle who had a 53% approval rating as of December 2008.

President Obama won Hawaii with 72% of the vote in 2008.

Former Democratic Attorney General of Illinois Roland Burris was appointed by then-Governor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich on December 30, 2008, to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Barack Obama who had resigned to become President. At the time, Blagojevich was facing corruption charges and members of the U.S. Senate declared that they wouldn't seat anyone the former Governor picked. It was argued that they had no legal authority to do so, and on January 12, 2009, the Democratic Senatorial Caucus announced that they would seat Burris. On February 17, 2009, the Sangamon County State's Attorney's Office in Illinois began investigating Burris for perjury. It is unknown whether Burris intends to seek reelection.

On the Democratic side, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has signaled that he will seek the Democratic nomination. Also rumored to be considering a run is former U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley, the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Democratic Congressman Danny K. Davis is a potential candidate, but his decision will be affected by whether Burris runs.

The only declared Republican candidate so far is controversial journalist and perennial candidate Andy Martin. U.S. Representatives Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam are also considering running for the seat.

President Obama won Illinois with 62% of the vote in 2008.

Two-term incumbent and former two-term Governor Evan Bayh (D) was reelected with 62 percent of the vote in 2004.

NRSCC chairman John Cornyn said he does not expect the Republicans to fundraise and compete against Bayh in 2010.

The only declared Republican candidate so far is Don Bates, Jr., a branch manager for Wachovia Securities. Tax attorney Dan Dumezich is considering a run.

President Obama narrowly won Indiana with 50% of the vote to 49% for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008.

Four-term incumbent Sen. Barbara Mikulski was reelected with 65 percent of the vote in 2004.

President Obama won Maryland with 62% of the vote in 2008.

Four-term incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was reelected with 61 percent of the vote in 2004. He will seek a fifth term in 2010, when he will be 71 years old.

Republican Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki is considering a possible run and is trying to lay the groundwork to mount a serious campaign against Reid., but his status as a candidate has been uncertain since his indictment for felony charges. Former Republican U.S. Representative Jon Porter, who was defeated by Democrat Dina Titus in Nevada's 3rd congressional district in 2008, may also run. Republican former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is also considering challenging Reid.

President Obama won Nevada with 55% of the vote in 2008.

Incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand (D) was appointed by Governor David Paterson (D-New York) to fill this seat on January 23, 2009, after former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned to take up her appointment as U.S. Secretary of State. Gillibrand will serve until the seat is filled in a 2010 special election. The winner of the 2010 election may then decide whether or not to run for a full term in 2012. Gillibrand has filed paperwork to seek a full term.

U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D) is considering challenging Gillibrand in the 2010 Democratic primary because of Gillibrand's support for gun rights.

On the Republican side, U.S. Representative Peter T. King (R) is strongly considering a run. Former Governor George Pataki (R) has met with GOP officials about a possible run, but officials say it is unlikely he will jump in.

President Obama won New York with 63% of the vote in 2008.

Two-term incumbent Sen. Chuck Schumer (D), the former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) was reelected with 71 percent of the vote in 2004. He is unlikely to face strong competition.

President Obama won New York with 63% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term incumbent Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) was reelected with 68 percent of the vote in 2004. He will be 68 years old in 2010.

Republicans are trying to get popular Governor John Hoeven (R) to run.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won North Dakota with 53% of the vote in 2008.

Two-term incumbent Sen. Ron Wyden (D) was reelected with 64 percent of the vote in 2004.

President Obama won Oregon with 57% of the vote in 2008.

Six-term incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) was reelected with 71 percent of the vote in 2004.

Cannabis legal reform activist and perennial candidate Cris Ericson has announced her candidacy as an independent.

President Obama won Vermont with 68% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D) was reelected with 55 percent of the vote in 2004 over former U.S. Representative George Nethercutt (R) in 2004.

So far, the only declared Republican candidates are truck driver and U.S. Army veteran Wayne Glover and Sean Salazar, a chiropractor, U.S. Navy veteran and 2001 U.S. House candidate. U.S. Representative Dave Reichert (R) is also mentioned as a possible candidate.

President Obama won Washington with 58% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D) was reelected with 55 percent of the vote in 2004. He will be 57 years old in 2010.

Feingold has announced his campaign staff for reelection and is expected to announce his formal election intentions soon. He will more than likely win should he run for a fourth term in blue-leaning Wisconsin.

President Obama won Wisconsin with 56% of the vote in 2008.

Four-term incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby (R), a conservative former Democrat who switched parties in 1994 when Republicans took control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, was reelected with 68 percent of the vote in 2004. Shelby's 2010 campaign committee had over $13 million on hand as of September 30, 2008, and will stand for reelection in 2010.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Alabama with 61% of the vote in 2008.

One-term incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) narrowly defeated former Governor Tony Knowles (D-Alaska) in 2004 with just 49 percent of the vote.

Murkowski has announced that she will seek reelection and will have fundraising aid from Governor Sarah Palin.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Alaska with 60% of the vote in 2008.

2008 Republican presidential nominee and four-term incumbent Sen. John McCain (R) was reelected with 77 percent of the vote in 2004. McCain has signaled his intention to run for a fifth term in 2010, when he will be 74 years old.

U.S. Navy veteran and businessman Jim Deakin is challenging McCain in the Republican primary. Former U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth may challenge McCain in the primary as well.

On the Democratic side, the only declared candidate so far is former Mayor Rudy Garcia (D-Bell Gardens, California). Former Governor Janet Napolitano (D) was seen as a formidable candidate to challenge McCain in 2010 when she would be ineligible to run for a third term as Governor due to term limits. Instead, she opted to fill the appointment by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of Homeland Security.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Arizona with 54% of the vote in 2008.

First-term incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) was elected with 58 percent of the vote in 2004. On May 8, 2008, Isakson announced that he would not run for Governor of Georgia and would instead run for reelection to the U.S. Senate. U.S. Representative Paul Broun (R) has expressed interest in running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, which could potentially lead to a primary challenge.

On the Democratic side, lawyer and party activist Jim Butler and U.S. Representative Jim Marshall have been talked about as possible challengers as well in 2010.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Georgia with 52% of the vote in 2008.

Two-term incumbent Sen. Mike Crapo (R) was reelected against only token write-in opposition with 99 percent of the vote in 2004 after Idaho Democrats failed to produce a candidate before the filing deadline.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Idaho with 61% of the vote in 2008.

Five-term incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), former Chair and Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was reelected with 70 percent of the vote in 2004.

Democratic challenger Bob Krause is a former state legislator, Army veteran and transportation official. Krause has said that Grassley's more than half-century in public office is too long. "As a good farmer, Sen. Grassley must recognize that 51 years, or 58 years at the end of his term, is a long time to go without rotating crops," Krause told about 50 supporters in Des Moines. Krause cited Grassley's support in 1999 for legislation that allowed banks and insurance companies to begin offering other investment products. "Please remember that Farmer Grassley was one that opened the barn door and let the cow out at AIG," Krause said.

President Obama won Iowa with 54% of the vote in 2008.

Baseball Hall of Famer and two-term Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning was narrowly reelected with 51% of the vote in 2004 against his Democratic opponent, then-state Senator Daniel Mongiardo, after several of Bunning's controversial actions made the race close. Bunning intends to run for reelection, but some Republicans are trying to talk Bunning out of running again. Bunning has continued to make controversial comments in 2009, such as predicting that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be dead in nine months. The Republican State Senate President David L. Williams is considering challenging Bunning in the primary and Secretary of State Trey Grayson and eye surgeon Rand Paul, son of U.S. Representative and 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul, have said they would be interested in running if Bunning decided to retire.

On the Democratic side two statewide elected Democrats have announced their candidacies: now- Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo, a practicing surgeon, announced that he will challenge Bunning again in 2010 and has received the endorsement of Democratic Governor Steve Beshear,. The other candidate is Attorney General Jack Conway, who has the support of both Kentucky's Democratic Congressman, Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth, state Auditor Crit Luallen, and state House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Former U.S. Customs Agent Darlene Fitzgerald Price has also announced her candidacy.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Kentucky with 57% of the vote in 2008.

One-term incumbent Sen. David Vitter (R) was elected over former U.S. Representative Chris John (D) with 51 percent of the vote in 2004. While his election marked the first time that the state elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, Vitter's reelection bid may become complicated by a prostitution scandal that was revealed in 2007. However, Vitter has announced that he will seek reelection. He may be challenged in the Republican primary by Secretary of State Jay Dardenne .

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Louisiana with 59% of the vote in 2008.

First-term incumbent Sen. Richard Burr (R) was elected over former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) with just 52 percent of the vote in 2004. President Obama narrowly won North Carolina in 2008 and during the same election, now-incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan ousted Elizabeth Dole by nine points, Democrats picked up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina's 8th congressional district and Lieutenant Governor Democrat Beverly Perdue was elected Governor.

The only declared Democratic candidate so far is Army veteran, graphic artist and 2006 and 2008 congressional candidate John Hendrix. It is widely speculated, however, that Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) will enter the race to challenge Burr. Recent polls show Cooper narrowly defeating Burr in hypothetical matchups.

President Obama won North Carolina with 50% of the vote in 2008.

One-term incumbent Sen. Tom Coburn (R) was elected with 53 percent of the vote in 2004. Coburn raised less than $20,000 in the fourth quarter of 2008 and reports less than $55,000 "cash on hand." This has caused some observers to speculate that he is not preparing to run for reelection in 2010. In April, 2009, Coburn told the Tulsa world he has not decided whether to seek re-election, “I’m not playing games,” he said Tuesday. “I really haven’t decided.” Instead, some believe he may retire and run for Governor of Oklahoma.

There has also been speculation that Governor Brad Henry (D) may challenge Coburn since he will be term-limited to run for Governor in 2010, although he has expressed no interest at the time.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Oklahoma with 66% of the vote in 2008.

Five-term incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (R) was reelected with 53 percent of the vote in 2004. He will seek a sixth term in 2010, when he will be 80 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and again in 2008.

Specter has become increasingly unpopular among conservatives in the state and nationally for his vote in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the economic stimulus bill) which could set up a tough reelection campaign for him in both the primary and general elections. Former U.S. Representative and President of the Club for Growth Pat Toomey (R), who came within 1.7 percent of defeating Specter in the 2004 GOP primary, is challenging Specter again in the primary. Businessman Larry Murphy, who challenged Specter in the 1998 primary, and 1994 and 1998 Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Peg Luksik have both announced that they will also challenge Specter in the primary.

On the Democratic side, Pennsylvania State School Board Chairman, former president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and former Deputy Mayor of Philadelphia Joe Torsella (D) has announced that he will run. U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz is also mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate.

President Obama won Pennsylvania with 55% of the vote in 2008.

First-term incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint (R) was elected over Inez Tenenbaum (D) with 54 percent of the vote in 2004.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won South Carolina with 54% of the vote in 2008.

One-term incumbent Sen. John Thune (R) was narrowly elected over Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) with 51 percent of the vote in 2004. Thune will likely run for a second term in 2010.

Some speculate that Democratic U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin may challenge Thune.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won South Dakota with 53% of the vote in 2008.

Three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett (R) was reelected with 69 percent of the vote in 2004. He will be 77 years old in 2010 and intends to run for reelection.

It is very possible that Bennett, who was rated one of the ten most liberal Republicans in the Senate, will face a tougher primary election then he will a general election in safely Republican Utah. State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) , as are former Juab County prosecutor David Leavitt(R) and former Gubenatorial counsel Mike Lee.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain won Utah with 63% of the vote in 2008.

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Source : Wikipedia