Now that former U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is officially out and Joe Miller is in as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Alaska, Democrat Scott McAdams may be a viable option for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat in the great Northwest.

Before Murkowski jumped out of the race on Tuesday, Public Policy Polling surveyed Alaskan voters about the Senate race. The poll should be welcome news to Democrats who have had little to smile about lately.

McAdams is only trailing Miller by a 47-39 percent margin. That is remarkably close considering McAdams is virtually an unknown outside of his town of Sitka, where he is the mayor. On the other hand, Miller is a household name in Alaska thanks to the endorsement of Sarah Palin. According to the blog post that accompanied the Public Policy Polling survey, “The reason for the closeness of the race is Miller's unpopularity. 52 percent of voters in the state have an unfavorable opinion of him, while only 36 percent see him positively.”

As for the campaign, it seems as though McAdams isn’t going to shy away from hitting Miller on energy issues. Mother Jones did a profile on McAdams explaining, “what pushed him ‘over the edge’ to running, was Murkowski's objection to a bill to raise the liability cap on oil spills in the wake of the Gulf disaster." If McAdams got fired up about Murkowski’s energy stance, he is certainly not going to like Miller’s feelings on the issue, which include an outright denial of global warming.

McAdams’ website boasts that the Sitka mayor and former commercial fishing deck hand, wants to make Alaska’s natural resources a “green choice in the global market place.” For environmentalists who have faced disappointment after disappointment over the last 12 months — beginning with the COP 15 climate summit in Copenhagen and continuing though the demise of the cap-and-trade bill in the U.S. Senate — the possibility of having two Democratic senators representing Alaska may be the only consolation prize they get.

With Murkowski out of race, Alaska has chance to back eco-friendly candidate
Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams has a chance to be a consolation prize for environmentalists who have lost a lot in the last year.