Reporting from Seattle — Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who lost to Tea Party Express-backed candidate Joe Miller in Alaska's Aug. 24 Republican primary, said she's given up the idea of trying for a place on the Libertarian ticket and will decide by Friday whether to mount a write-in campaign.
"I will not wrap myself in the flag of another political party for the sake of election at any cost," Murkowski said in a statement Tuesday, shortly after flying to Washington to work on the defense appropriations bill.
"Everyday Alaskans from all walks of life have approached me urging that I stay in the race.… Advisors and friends had urged me to find a way to get my name printed on the ballot at all costs," Murkowski said. But after meetings with Libertarian Party nominee David Haase, she said she determined she could not "in good conscience" seek to represent that party in order to get on the ballot November.
Alaska analysts say a write-in campaign could be tough — if only with the difficulty in getting voters to spell Murkowski's name right — and could cost her political capital that might otherwise be available to run against Alaska's other U.S. senator, Democrat Mark Begich, in 2014.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which had backed Murkowski in the primary, has since committed more than $212,000 in support of Miller, a Fairbanks attorney generally considered more conservative than Murkowski. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has personally pledged $5,000 to Miller's campaign. McConnell told MSNBC on Tuesday that Miller had won the race "fair and square."
"It would be my hope she would accept that result and move on," he said of Murkowski.