It’s looking like Lisa Murkowski isn’t ready to give up the U.S. Senate seat she lost to Tea Party Express-backed candidate Joe Miller in the Alaska Republican primary — a supporter of the Republican senator said plans were underway Friday for a write-in campaign kickoff in Anchorage.
“She’s our senior senator. She is the best thing that Alaska has had for years and years, not taking anything away from Ted Stevens. She knows what Alaska needs, she knows what Alaska wants, and she works her hardest to get it done,” said Bonnie Jack, an elections observer for the Murkowski campaign whose e-mail invited supporters to the “kickoff of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign.”
“Write in her name and fill in the oval,” the e-mail urges. “We plan to make history.”
Murkowski’s campaign leaders have confirmed that Murkowski is flying back to Anchorage to make an announcement at 5 p.m. local time but would not confirm whether she plans to take on the Republican Party establishment with a write-in campaign — an endeavor political analysts have said would be extremely difficult.
But Jack said supporters have heard that the senator has made a decision and are preparing the ground.
“The outpouring of support for Lisa, the pleading from her supporters and her constituency in Alaska —there have been hundreds of e-mails, thousands of contacts that have been made with her campaign, her senatorial office and with her personally, saying, please, we need you, from Democrats, Republicans from all walks of life,” Jack said in a telephone interview.
“People have come forward with checks, volunteering their time, offering their front yards for yard signs. I personally know numbers of people who said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t work hard enough in the primary. I will do whatever I can,’ from dentists to doctors to housewives to teenagers, just an outpouring of support,” she said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee already has moved in with full support for Miller, a Fairbanks-based attorney who has advocated taking more local control of federal lands in Alaska and dismantling federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“Alaska’s voters have spoken, and have chosen Joe Miller as their Republican U.S. Senate nominee. If Sen. Murkowski is truly committed to doing ‘what is right’ for her state, then we hope that she will step forward and fully endorse Joe Miller’s candidacy,” the committee said in a statement Thursday.
“No matter what Sen. Murkowski decides for her own political interests in the future, Republicans are united behind Joe Miller’s nomination, and we are confident that he will be elected Alaska’s next U.S. senator in November.”
Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer said Murkowski should instead be endorsing the nominee her party elected in August.
“If she is unwilling to be a good team member, then she should know that we at the Tea Party Express are prepared to work twice as hard to defeat her in November as we did last month in the primary,” Kremer said in a statement. “Her record of tax-spend-bailout reflects the failed politics of the past. Like many other career politicians she seems to think this seat is some sort of entitlement. not, and Alaska voters sent a message: Thanks, but no thanks, Lisa.”
Murkowski, in an interview Thursday with the Anchorage Daily News, said she would base her decision on what was best for Alaska.
“Believe you me, the easier path would be to pack it all up and go do something different,” she said. “If I had not heard this call from Alaskans, I would not be deliberating as I am.”
Scott McAdams, a former football coach and mayor of the southeast Alaskan town of Sitka, is the Democratic nominee.