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Murkowski Says She’s Running for Voters in Political Center

Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Sunday defended her decision to pursue re-election via a write-in campaign.

“The question is, do I represent the values of the people of the state that I represent? Do I stand for what they value? And that’s what we’re doing here. That’s what this write-in campaign is all about,” the Alaska Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Senator lost her GOP primary to Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller, whom she portrayed as outside Alaska’s political mainstream. “He is suggesting to us, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, many Alaskans, some pretty radical things,” she said. “You know, we dump Social Security. No more Medicare. Let’s get rid of the Department of Education. Elimination of all earmarks. You know, he is — he has taken an approach that is just, plain and simple, more radical than where the people of the state of Alaska are.”

Miller rejected Murkowski’s characterization of his views as “extremist,” saying in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that the state saw the largest turnout of GOP voters in its history.

Miller reiterated his belief that Alaska’s economy needs to be untethered from the federal government. “What we have in this country is an entitlement mentality,” he said.

Miller indicated that he believes that unemployment benefits, as well as Social Security, are unconstitutional overreaches by the federal government and that both are contributing to the “fiscal insolvency of the nation.”

Still, he said Social Security should continue for those currently receiving benefits, such as his parents.

Karl Rove, an adviser to President George W. Bush, predicted Murkowski would not win in the general election in November.

“This is sad and sorry,” he said on Fox. “She should not be doing this.”

Rove questioned whether Murkowski could split the vote and deny Miller a victory. He said part of her problem is that voters must spell her name correctly when they write in her name.

But Murkowski was optimistic. “This is a tough hurdle. Winning a write-in campaign is going to be tough. But don’t you tell Alaskans that we can’t do tough things,” she said. “You don’t think we can fill in an oval and learn to spell Lisa Murkowski? We can figure this out.”

Emily Pierce contributed to this report.