Murkowski Will Settle Her Campaign’s Future on Friday

Posted September 14, 2010 at 7:42pm

Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Tuesday evening that she plans to end the suspense surrounding her re-election campaign Friday, when the Alaska Republican will reveal whether she intends to run as a write-in candidate or retire.

Murkowski was ousted in a Senate primary last month by Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller. Republican leaders quickly lined up behind Miller and have quietly urged Murkowski to retire. But in a prepared statement released by her campaign Tuesday, Murkowski made clear that she is still considering running as a write-in.

“I will continue to seek advice from my fellow Alaskans about what is best for the state’s future and announce a decision by Friday,” she said.

Even should she win re-election, Murkowski would likely be ousted from her leadership post as Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman. She might even be stripped of her ranking status on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In her statement, Murkowski blamed a California-based tea party group for her defeat, although her campaign has been criticized in GOP circles for failing to use the full might of her financial resources to adequately attack Miller. Murkowski finished the primary with about $1 million left in the bank. That money could be used to fund a write-in campaign.

Murkowski made clear Tuesday that she would not leave the GOP, even if such a move could facilitate her re-election. She had explored running as the Libertarian Party’s Senate candidate following her defeat in the primary.

“As disappointed as I am in the outcome of the Primary and my belief that the Alaska Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party Express, an outside extremist group, I am not going to quit my party,” she said. “I will not wrap myself in the flag of another political party for the sake of election at any cost.”