Dan Fagan was temporarily suspended by management at KFBQ-AM in Anchorage after being accused of muddying the electoral waters by encouraging listeners to register as write-in senatorial candidates in hopes of damaging the campaign of incumbent Lisa Murkowski. He is already back in on the job – and unapologetic.
Murkowski sits in the Senate of the 111th Congress as a Republican, but is running as an unaffiliated write-in candidate after losing her party’s primary to Joe Miller.
Fagan objected to the State of Alaska’s decision to allow a list of write-in candidates to be handed out at polling places on voter request, and encouraged his listeners to file as such to diminish the usefulness of any such document. According to one report, the size of the list had reached 150; Fagan said 200 filed to get on the list.
According to a report by Schurz Communications NBC affiliate KTUU-TV, Fagan was accused of using his media megaphone to disenfranchise voters by former broadcaster John Tracy, who now works for a firm that in turn is working for Murkowski. According to KTUU, Tracy said, “I believe Mr. Fagan used the public airwaves to manipulate an election in favor of his preferred candidate by offering prizes to listeners who would go to the Division of Elections and file as write-ins. Mr. Fagan’s expressed purpose was to disenfranchise as many voters of Lisa Murkowski as possible.”
Station exec Dennis Bookey, who runs KFBQ for Morris Communications, went on the air to explain the decision to suspend Fagan, saying, “Anything coming out of this show should never be designed to confuse… So in the future, we’re not going to do things on this program that are going to confuse.”
Fagan believes he did nothing illegal, however. In his opinion, Murkowski was able to pull the levers of the existing Alaska power structure and get the state itself to cheat in her behalf. His regret is that he didn’t start his write-in confusion campaign earlier and get a thousand names on the qualified list.