Less than 24 hours after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska) announced a write-in campaign, the Republican who defeated her in the primary called Human Events to say that, with nearly $1.8 million in her campaign kitty, she will be formidable.
But Joe Miller quickly added his belief that, with much of Murkowski’s support now coming from the left, she was more likely to split votes with Democratic nominee Scott McAdams than from him.
“Just as she tried to lurch to the right when we were gaining on her in the primary, she will now try to lurch to the left to shore up the support now coming her way from Democrats and the [Alaskan] native corporations,” predicted Miller, a former federal magistrate and U.S. Army veteran who upset the moderate (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 70%) Murkowski in the GOP primary last minth.
The conservative Miller was referring to the fact that, in announcing her plans to “go rogue” and pursue a write-in campaign, Murkowski was surrounded by Democratic state legislators and leaders of the groups representing Alaskan natives.
Miller pointed out that although the leadership of native groups are strongly Democratic, “there is a real disconnect between the leadership of those organizations and their shareholders. I am reaching out to the native Alaskans, who comprise about 15% to 20% of the electorate here.”
Where Democratic outlets were embracing Murkowski, state and national GOPers were weighing in for stalwart conservative Miller, who won the primary with the backing of Tea Partiers, pro-lifers, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Tex.), ’08 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, and Republican National Chairman Michael Steele have all underscored their support of their party’s nominee for the Senate from Alaska.
As to whether Murkowski has been gearing up for revenge since Miller upset her re-nomination plans, the GOP hopeful noted that “she did call me to concede, but then started to court the [state] Libertarian Party for their ballot line. I found a great deal of humor in that, given her record on government spending and using tax dollars for groups such as the International Monetary Fund. So now she’s going the only route she can.”
While insisting that he is “more focused on [Sitka Mayor] McAdams” and that he would now be “facing two liberals in the fall,” Miller did not under-estimate Murkowski’s clout.
Apparently, because of over-confidence in the primary, the senator did not spend as much as she could against Miller and is now left with her $1.8 million for the write-in effort. Miller himself has “roughly $250,000 on hand” and McAdams nearly $300,000. So obviously, conservatives need to rally to Miller again.
When asked if Murkowski’s insurgent move was motivated by the senator’s long-standing feud with his friend and her long-time nemesis Palin, Miller chuckled and replied, “You’ll have to ask her.”