Frank Murkowski

Frank Hughes Murkowski (born March 28, 1933) is an American retired politician and a member of the Republican Party. He was a United States senator from Alaska from 1981 until 2002 and the eighth governor of Alaska from 2002 until 2006.

Frank Murkowski
Frank Murkowski, 105th Congress photo
8th Governor of Alaska
In office
December 2, 2002 – December 4, 2006
LieutenantLoren Leman
Preceded byTony Knowles
Succeeded bySarah Palin
United States Senator
from Alaska
In office
January 3, 1981 – December 2, 2002
Preceded byMike Gravel
Succeeded byLisa Murkowski
3rd Alaska Commissioner of Economic Development
In office
December 5, 1966 – December 7, 1970
GovernorWally Hickel
Keith Miller
Preceded byWilliam Dickson
Succeeded byEverett Buness
Personal details
Frank Hughes Murkowski

March 28, 1933 (age 86)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Nancy Gore (m. 1954)
Children6, including Lisa
EducationSanta Clara University
Seattle University (BS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Coast Guard
Years of service1955–1957

Early life and career

Murkowski was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Helen (née Hughes) and Frank M. Murkowski.[1] His paternal grandfather was of Polish descent.[2] Murkowski attended Ketchikan High School in Alaska, graduating in 1951. Studying at Santa Clara University from 1951 to 1953, he gained a BS in economics from Seattle University in 1955. Thereafter, he served in the United States Coast Guard until 1957 – the same year his daughter Lisa was born. After a stint at Pacific National Bank and further study at Pacific Coast Banking School, Murkowski became Alaska's youngest commissioner at the time when he was appointed Commissioner of Economic Development, aged 33, and was elevated to the presidency of the Alaska National Bank of the North in 1971. He has also headed the Alaska Bankers Association and – in 1977 -[3] the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.[4]

He ran for Alaska's sole U.S. House seat in 1970, but was defeated by Democrat Nick Begich.[5]

U.S. Senate

President Ronald Reagan, in the Oval Office, shaking hands with Republican senator Frank Murkowski of Alaska (cropped)
Murkowski with President Ronald Reagan in 1986
Vice President J. Danforth Quayle and Marilyn Quayle wave to the crowd upon their arrival on base
Murkowski and his wife stand behind Vice President Dan Quayle and Marilyn Quayle as they express their appreciation to airmen who served in the Persian Gulf area during Operation Desert Storm on May 18, 1991
Republican Senators urge Tom Daschle to set a date for debate to establish a comprehensive energy plan for American families
Murkowski with Rick Santorum. Larry Craig, and Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2001

He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, defeating Democratic candidate Clark Gruening, with the help of Ronald Reagan's popularity. He won with 54% of the vote.[5] He was re-elected in 1986, 1992, and 1998. During his time in the Senate, he was most notable as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001. As chair, he argued and attempted unsuccessfully to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Murkowski had a pro-life record in the Senate, opposing abortion.[6] He also opposes gun control and affirmative action.[6]

In a floor statement in the Senate, regarding the ban of homosexuals serving in the military, Murkowski stated that homosexuals have a right to choose their lifestyle, but there exists no right to serve. In his opposition to lifting the ban, his speech focused on the cost effect on the Veterans Administration in treating service members infected with HIV.[7] His daughter and successor in the Senate, Lisa Murkowski, voted to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the armed services, and later became the third Republican Senator to endorse the legalization of same-sex marriage while in office.[8]

Governor photo essay 060827-F-0193C-031
Murkowski, Senator Ted Stevens, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, State Senator Gary Wilken, and former State Senator John Binkley cut the ribbon dedicating a memorial to the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease program in Fairbanks, Alaska on August 26, 2006
Secretary Ken Salazar with former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski, at Interior headquarters, Washington, D.C
Murkowski with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2011

Murkowski was elected governor on November 5, 2002, receiving nearly 56% of the vote, the highest percentage for any Republican gubernatorial nominee in Alaska history up until that point.[9] He succeeded Democrat Tony Knowles and took office on December 2, 2002.

Upon his inauguration, he resigned his Senate seat and appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, the Majority Leader-designate of the Alaska House of Representatives, in his place. His opponents derided the appointment as an act of nepotism.

Toward the end of his administration he brokered a deal for a gas pipeline that was never considered, in final form, by the legislature. Murkowski threatened to sign the deal without legislative approval, but the legislature successfully brought a lawsuit to enjoin him from doing so.

Governor Murkowski ran for re-election in 2006, but came in third behind former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin and Fairbanks businessman John Binkley in the Republican primary election on August 22, 2006 (Palin winning with 51% and Binkley taking second with 30% to Murkowski's 19%). Murkowski's margin of defeat was the largest in any Republican primary by an incumbent governor in United States history.[10] Murkowski left office with one of the nation's worst approval ratings of 19%.[11][12]

On March 4, 2008, Murkowski's former chief-of-staff, Jim Clark admitted that he was aware that Veco Corp had paid $10,000 for a political poll to gauge the popularity of then-incumbent Governor Murkowski. Clark was charged with "honest services fraud". Before he was sentenced, the US Supreme Court ruled that the statute was drafted with unconstitutional vagueness and henceforth will only cover "fraudulent schemes to deprive another of honest services through bribes or kickbacks supplied by a third party who ha[s] not been deceived." Since Clark was guilty of neither bribes nor kickbacks, all charges were voided.

In all 28 years of public service, Murkowski spent two years in the armed services, 22 years as Alaska's junior senator in D.C. and four years as governor.

Murkowski considered attempting a return to his old job in the 2018 election, but ultimately decided against it.[13]

Jet plane scandal

In 2005, despite opposition from the Alaska Legislature, Murkowski purchased a Westwind II jet with state money for $2.7 million.[14] This purchase became the symbol of his unpopular legacy in state politics, so much so that his successor, Sarah Palin, promised to sell the jet once she became governor.[15]

Electoral history


  1. ^ Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "TPG: Murkowski". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "Frank Murkowski".
  3. ^ "Murkowski, Frank Hughes". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  4. ^ "Sen. Frank Murkowski". CBS. September 8, 1998. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Sen. Frank Murkowski".
  6. ^ a b Seelye, Katharine (December 21, 2002). "New Alaska Governor Gives Daughter His Seat in Senate". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "Congressional Record 103rd Congress (1993-1994) FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993 (Senate – February 4, 1993)". THOMAS. Library of Congress. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "Senate Vote 281 – Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times. December 18, 2010. Archived from the original on October 27, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  9. ^ Fellow Republican Sean Parnell won around 59% in 2010.
  10. ^ State of Alaska Division of Elections: "2006 Primary Election Results." Archived September 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
  11. ^ "AK Gov". SurveyUSA. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Herz, Nathaniel (June 12, 2018). "Frank Murkowski seriously considered running for Alaska governor again". KTOO. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Yardley, William (August 25, 2007). "Jet That Helped Defeat an Alaska Governor Is Sold". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  15. ^ "Governor travel shot up with Murkowski's jet, plummets with Palin". Juneau Empire. Retrieved June 20, 2010.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
C. R. Lewis
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Alaska
(Class 3)

1980, 1986, 1992, 1998
Succeeded by
Lisa Murkowski
Preceded by
John Lindauer
Republican nominee for Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Sarah Palin
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Mike Gravel
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alaska
Served alongside: Ted Stevens
Succeeded by
Lisa Murkowski
Preceded by
Alan Simpson
Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
Alan Cranston
Preceded by
Bennett Johnston
Chair of the Senate Energy Committee
Succeeded by
Jeff Bingaman
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Knowles
Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Sarah Palin
1980 United States Senate election in Alaska

The 1980 United States Senate election in Alaska was held on November 4, 1980. Incumbent Democratic United States Senator Mike Gravel ran for a third term in the United States Senate, but lost in the Democratic primary to Clark Gruening, a former state representative who was the grandson of Ernest Gruening, whom Gravel had defeated twelve years prior in an election for the same seat. Gruening later went on to lose the general election to Republican nominee Frank Murkowski, a banker.

After the loss of Gravel's seat, no Alaska Democrat would win a congressional race again until Mark Begich's narrow, protracted triumph in Alaska's 2008 Senate election.

1986 United States Senate election in Alaska

The 1986 United States Senate election in Alaska was held on November 3, 1986. Incumbent Republican United States Senator Frank Murkowski ran for a second term in the United States Senate and was primarily opposed by Alaska Pacific University President Glenn Olds. Following a highly competitive election in 1980, Murkowski faced a legitimate opponent in Glenn Olds, and the contest was fairly close. However, in the end, Murkowski was able to defeat Olds by a slightly wider margin than he won by six years prior.

1992 United States Senate election in Alaska

The 1992 United States Senate election in Alaska was held on November 3, 1992. Incumbent Republican United States Senator Frank Murkowski sought re-election to a third term in the United States Senate. Tony Smith, the Democratic nominee and a former Commissioner of Economic Development, won his party's nomination in a crowded primary and faced off against Murkowski in the general election. Though Murkowski was held to a lower vote percentage than he received six years prior, he was ultimately re-elected.

1998 United States Senate election in Alaska

The 1998 United States Senate election in Alaska was held November 3, 1998. Incumbent Republican United States Senator Frank Murkowski sought re-election to a fourth term in the United States Senate. Murkowski easily won re-election against Democratic nominee Joseph Sonneman, a perennial candidate, earning nearly 75% of the vote.

2002 Alaska gubernatorial election

The 2002 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 5, 2002 for the post of Governor of Alaska. Republican U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Fran Ulmer. Murkowski became the first Republican elected governor of Alaska since Jay Hammond in 1978.

2004 United States Senate election in Alaska

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.

2006 United States gubernatorial elections

United States gubernatorial elections were held on November 7, 2006 in 36 states and two territories.

The elections coincided with the midterm elections of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

Democrats won open Republican-held governorships in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio and defeated one Republican incumbent — Robert Ehrlich of Maryland — while retaining all of their then-held seats.

Voters in the United States territories of Guam (then-Republican held) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (then-Democratic, but term-limited) also chose their governors and voters elected a new mayor for the District of Columbia, the District's chief executive.

As part of the 2006 Democratic sweep, Democrats did not lose a single incumbent or open seat to the Republicans in the gubernatorial contests.

This election marked the most recent cycle where Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wyoming elected Democrats to their respective governor's mansions, as well as the most recent cycle Democrats netted a majority of the governorships of the 50 states. This was also the most recent cycle where California, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Minnesota elected Republican governors.

Alan Austerman

Alan David Austerman (born May 23, 1943) is a former Republican member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 2009 to 2015. He was the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. He also serves on the Fisheries, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Community and Regional Affairs committees of the House of Representatives of the 27th Legislature. Alan Austerman previously served as an Alaska State Senator from 2001 to 2003. He resigned from the Senate to become the Fisheries Policy Advisor to Governor Frank Murkowski. Before that he represented the 6th district in the House from 1995 to 2001.Austerman's daughter Carol ran for his seat in the House of Representatives upon his retirement in 2014. She lost in the Republican primary to Louise Stutes.

Alaska gubernatorial election, 2006

The 2006 Alaska gubernatorial general election took place on November 7, 2006. The former mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin, was elected governor.

Bert Stedman

Bert Stedman (born March 6, 1956) is a Republican member of the Alaska Senate. A fourth generation Alaskan, he was born in Anchorage and spent his childhood between Petersburg and Sitka. He was appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski in November 2003 to the Alaska Senate to represent District A. He now represents District R following redistricting in 2012.

Stedman co-chaired the Senate Finance Committee for six years from 2007 to 2012, and again in 2019. Politically heterodox, Stedman opposed reforms to Alaska's oil tax under Republican governors Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell. Following the precipitous drop in oil prices, Stedman advocated a more fiscally conservative approach to the state's budgeting in 2015.

Charlie Huggins

Charles R. Huggins (born January 27, 1947) is an American politician who was a Republican member of the Alaska Senate, representing District D. He was President of the Alaska Senate during the 28th Alaska Legislature, leading a caucus of 13 Republicans and 2 Democrats.

Huggins was appointed in 2004 to the Alaska Senate by Governor Frank Murkowski to represent District H. He represented District E following redistricting in 2012.

He filed as a candidate for governor in September 2017.

On January 18, 2018 Charile announced he would drop out of the race for governor.

David W. Márquez

David W. Márquez (born 1946 in Janesville, Wisconsin) is an American lawyer and politician, and the former attorney general of the state of Alaska. He is currently Senior VP and COO of NANA Development Corporation (NDC) an Alaska native corporation, owned by the Iñupiaq people of northwest Alaska.Márquez graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin Law School, and was admitted to the Alaska bar in 1973.

After a career working in the oil industry, including jobs doing land title work for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, as general counsel for the pipeline operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and later ARCO, Márquez moved into politics, serving as Chief Assistant Attorney General, Legislative and Regulations Section in the Alaska Department of Law and as the Acting Deputy Attorney General, Civil Division.

On March 31, 2005, Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Márquez as Attorney General for the State of Alaska. He served as Attorney General until Sarah Palin took office as the new governor of Alaska on December 4, 2006.

Glenn Olds

Glenn A. Olds (February 28, 1921 – March 11, 2006) was an American academic administrator, government official and politician. Olds was raised in Oregon and attended Willamette University.

Olds served as the president of Springfield College in western Massachusetts from 1958 to 1965, of Kent State University in Ohio from 1971 to 1977, and of Alaska Pacific University from 1977 to 1988. In 1986, he was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from the state of Alaska, which he lost to incumbent Frank Murkowski. He also served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development during the second governorship of Walter Hickel in the early 1990s.

Jeff Bingaman

Jesse Francis “Jeff” Bingaman Jr. (born October 3, 1943) is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from New Mexico from 1983 to 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party, and served as Chairman of Committee Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Previously, Bingaman was Attorney General of New Mexico from 1979 to 1983. On February 18, 2011, he announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012. He was replaced by fellow Democrat Martin Heinrich. After he left the Senate, he returned to his alma mater, Stanford Law School, as a fellow of their Steyer–Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

Jim Clark (Alaska)

Jim Clark (born 1943 in New York) served as Chief of Staff to the Governor of Alaska during the administration of former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski.

John Binkley

John Emerson "Johne" Binkley (born February 4, 1953 in Fairbanks, Alaska) is a riverboat pilot, businessman and Republican politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. Binkley served for one term apiece in the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska Senate during the mid and late 1980s, but is perhaps better known for his candidacy for governor of Alaska in the 2006 primary election. In that election, he finished far behind Sarah Palin (who would go on to win the governorship), but also far ahead of one-term incumbent governor Frank Murkowski, by then deeply unpopular amongst Alaskans.

Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Ann Murkowski (; born May 22, 1957) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Alaska, having held that seat since 2002. She is a member of the Republican Party, and is the second most senior Republican woman in the Senate. Along with Susan Collins from Maine, she is frequently described as one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate and is a crucial swing voter.

Murkowski is the daughter of former U.S. Senator and Governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski. Before her appointment to the Senate, she served in the Alaska House of Representatives and was eventually elected Majority Leader. She was appointed to the U.S. Senate by her father, who resigned his seat in December 2002 to become the Governor of Alaska. She completed her father's unexpired term, which ended in January 2005.

Murkowski ran for and won a full term in 2004. She ran for a second term in 2010. After losing the Republican Party primary to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and defeated both Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams in the general election; this made her the second U.S. Senator (and the first since Strom Thurmond in 1954) to be elected by write-in vote. Although Murkowski has won three full terms to the Senate, she has never won a majority of the vote; she won pluralities in each of her three races, with 48.6% of the vote in 2004, 39.5% in 2010, and 44.4% in 2016.

List of United States Senators from Alaska

Alaska was admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959. Alaska's United States Senate seats belong to Class 2 and Class 3. The state's current Senators are Republicans Lisa Murkowski (serving since 2002) and Dan Sullivan (serving since 2015). A total of eight people have represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate.

Mia Costello

Mia C. Costello (born January 11, 1968) is a Republican member of the Alaska Senate from District K. She previously served from 2011 to 2015 in the Alaska House of Representatives, representing the 20th District.

In November 2010, Costello defeated Democratic incumbent Bob Buch to win her House seat. Costello received 3,696 votes to Buch's 2,873. Costello served on the House Finance Committee and as chair of the Natural Resources Finance Subcommittee. She ran for the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Hollis French in 2014, picking up the seat to add to the Republican Senate Majority.Prior to being elected to the Alaska State House, Costello worked as a school teacher, legislative aide, and as deputy communications director for Governor Frank Murkowski.After graduating from West High School, she earned her B.A. from Harvard University and later a Master of Art in Teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast.

Class 2
Class 3
Class 2
Class 3
Public Lands
Public Lands and Surveys
Interior and Insular Affairs
Energy and Natural Resources
District (1884–1912)
Territorial (1912–59)
State (since 1959)

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