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Murkowski Aims to Keep Top Committee Slot

Although Sen. Lisa Murkowski won’t try to regain her leadership position should her write-in candidacy prove successful, she is expected to try to remain the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The Alaskan remains focused on her yet-to-be-decided write-in campaign and will make no formal decisions until after the ballot counting is over, Murkowski spokesman Michael Brumas said.

But Brumas on Thursday confirmed that Murkowski would not challenge Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Barrasso (Wyo.), who took over that spot from Murkowski when she launched her write-in campaign in September after losing her primary bid to Joe Miller.

Brumas indicated that Murkowski would seek to retain her position as ranking member on the Energy committee.

“If Sen. Murkowski returns to the 112th Congress — and we are optimistic about that — Sen. Murkowski will not pursue a Republican leadership position. Her main focus will be on continuing her work as the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” Brumas said in a statement.

State officials announced Wednesday that they would speed up the process of tallying write-in votes this year and would begin the work next week, rather than the week of Nov. 18 as had previously been expected.

The number of write-in ballots is currently more than the number of votes for tea-party-favorite Miller, 41 percent to 34 percent. Democrat Scott McAdams trails with 23.6 percent of the vote.

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