Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn't up for election until 2016, but that's not stopping the American Chemistry Council from buying lots of commercial airtime on TV and radio stations in Anchorage, airing a pro-Murkowski political advertisement hundreds of times.
At KTUU alone, the American Chemistry Council -- based in Washington, D.C.-- has spent $111,875 in March for repeated airings of the 30-second spot that lauds Murkowski's efforts in the U.S. Senate. The ad has also aired on other television and radio stations in Anchorage.
"When it comes to jobs, Lisa Murkowski works hard for us," the ad states.
The ad urges Alaskans to call Murkowski and tell her to "keep fighting for Alaska jobs and a better future for our families."
Four years away from any re-election bid, Murkowski says the ad campaign caught her by surprise.
"I actually heard first from my cousin," she said.
"I'm not quite sure why they feel it's necessary to thank me," Murkowski continued. "I'm appreciative, most certainly, but it does seem a bit unnecessary."
The American Chemistry Council says the ad campaign isn't targeted at any specific piece of legislation, but in a statement, the company said: "Policies that support economic growth, energy security and job creation are critical to America's chemistry industry. We believe it's important for Members of Congress, like Senator Murkowski, who are champions for these priorities to hear from their constituents who share these beliefs."
Murkowski says she has heard from several people thanking her for her stance on Alaska energy issues.
But the American Chemistry Council isn't just airing the ads in Alaska; it's spending in at least four other states: Wyoming, Illinois, Louisiana and Nebraska.
The group is airing the same cookie-cutter ad in those states, simply switching out the name of the lawmaker.
CLICK HERE to watch the ad supporting Sen. John Barraso (R-Wyoming)
CLICK HERE to watch the ad supporting Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois)
CLICK HERE to watch the ad supporting Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana)
CLICK HERE to watch the ad supporting Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska)
Among the calls of support, Murkowski says her office has taken calls from people who were confused -- thinking that she was starting up campaign ads already.
"I join them in that sense of confusion," Murkowski said. "It's nice to have nice things said about you, but it seems to me (the American Chemistry Council) could probably place their dollars somewhere else, for a different cause."
Murkowski sits as the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Barraso is also a committee member.
Shimkus sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Johanns sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.
Email Jason Lamb at email@example.com