Lisa Murkowski just can’t let it go. Appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2006 by her father during his last term as Alaska Governor, Lisa narrowly lost her GOP primary bid to Palin-endorsed Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in August.
Murkowski then courted the Alaska Libertarian Party, toying with the idea to replace the LP candidate on the November ballot. The Libertarians ultimately rejected the idea proving that, unlike Murkowski, they have an interest in upholding their party’s principles.
Finally, Murkowski has announced that she will run in November as a write-in candidate, proving once and for all to Alaska voters that she has no interest in listening to them. As a result, Lisa has since been stripped of her leadership positions within the Republican Party, according to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, a move that Murkowski had been warned of before she made her decision.
In a fund-raising email for GOP nominee Joe Miller, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blasted Murkowski, saying that “big tent” Republicans want conservatives to support them but, when beaten by a conservative, the “moderates” inevitably jump ship or refuse to support the winning candidate. Case in point: Mike Castle in Delaware and Charlie Crist in Florida.
The establishment loves to lecture conservatives about how we need to support liberal candidates to ‘expand the tent’ and win seats for Republicans,” DeMint wrote. “But when these candidates lose their primaries, many leave the party and join the opposition. When conservatives lose their primaries, however, they accept defeat and support the nominee*. Murkowski’s betrayal provides more proof that big-tent hypocrites don’t really care about winning a majority for Republicans.
Murkowski says DeMint’s statement makes people “uncomfortable.” And by “people” she means “Lisa Murkowski.” Captain Obvious (Oblivious, maybe?) goes on to say that the Tea Party “absolutely influenced the outcome of the election.” Further underscoring her self-interested duplicity, Murkowski said of DeMint, “I don’t think that’s it’s particularly helpful to undercut fellow Republicans” and of Republican Nominee Miller, “[he] is suggesting to us… some pretty radical things.”
To cement her status as a seeker of power and influence rather than a principled representative of her constituency, Murkowski has reached out to… lobbyists.
Karen Knutson, Murkowski’s chief of staff, emailed scores of top lobbyists in town and employees at some of the largest oil companies – including Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Marathon Oil – to ask them to join the senator on a conference call Saturday, according to a copy of the e-mail and a recipient list obtained by POLITICO.
“To my friends in D.C. – if you are so inclined, please join us for a conference call with Lisa Murkowski tomorrow at 2:30 D.C. time and 10:30 Alaska time,” wrote Knutson. “She would love to have the chance to talk with you and answer any questions you may have. Please let me know if you intend to call in.”
There are sure to be some Murkowski loyalists in Alaska but success of such a campaign is historically rare. What Lisa will undoubtedly do is siphon off some voters who would otherwise have voted for Joe Miller. Elections, especially in this cycle, can be surprising so there’s no saying whether such a thing will hurt Miller’s chances against his Democrat opponent. What it is more certain to do is lessen the effect of the statement Republicans can make during this mid-term by not just defeating Democrats but piling-on.