Francis Hughes Murkowski
(born March 28, 1933) is an American politician and a member of the Republican Party.
He was a
United States Senator from
Alaska from 1981 until 2002 and Governor of Alaska from 2002
Early life and career
was born in Seattle,
Washington to Frank Michael Murkowski and Helen Hughes.
His father was of Polish descent. He was raised in Ketchikan,
Alaska and initially attended Santa Clara
University but graduated from Seattle University, both Catholic universities
run by the Society of Jesus.
election to the Senate in 1980, he worked in the banking
industry in Anchorage and Wrangell.
1970, he was the Republican nominee for the at-large U.S. House
seat, but lost to Nick Begich
He married Nancy Gore and they have six children.
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 was elected governor
receiving nearly 56% of the vote, the highest percentage for any
gubernatorial candidate in Alaska history. He succeeded retiring
Democrat Tony Knowles
took office on December 2
Upon his inauguration, he resigned his Senate seat and appointed
his daughter, Lisa Murkowski
Majority Leader-designate of the Alaska House of
, in his place. This led his opponents to accuse
him 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.
Murkowski ran for re-election in 2006, but came in third behind
former Wasilla mayor and
Party vice-presidential nominee 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
Most polls had predicted this result.
Murkowski left office with one of the nation's worst approval
ratings of 19%.
On March 4, 2008, Murkowski's former chief-of-staff, Jim Clark
, pleaded guilty to one felony
count of conspiracy after federal investigators discovered Clark
had asked oil-field company Veco to illegally pay $68,550 on polls
for Murkowski's failed 2006 re-election campaign. Murkowski,
Clark's indictment noted, was the only candidate who supported an
oil tax and gas pipeline plan that Veco backed. Murkowski has not
been charged in the Alaska political corruption
In all, Murkowski spent two years in the armed services, 22 years
as Alaska's junior senator in D.C. and four years as
Jet Plane Scandal
In 2005, in spite of opposition from the Alaska Legislature,
Murkowski purchased a Westwind
with state money for $2.7 million. 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. After losing the primary and one
month before leaving office, Murkowski used the jet for a $13,000
trip to Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.
- 2006 race for Governor (primary)
- 1998 race for U.S. Senate
- Frank Murkowski (R) (inc.), 75%
- Joe Sonneman (D), 20%
- 1992 race for U.S. Senate
- Frank Murkowski (R) (inc.), 53%
- Tony Smith (D), 38%
- Mary Jordan (Grn.), 8%
- 1986 race for U.S. Senate
- Frank Murkowski (R) (inc.), 55%
- Glenn Olds (D), 45%
- State of Alaska Division of Elections: "2006 Primary Election Results." Retrieved March 16