Murkowski: Miller Trying to ‘Disenfranchise’ Voters

Posted November 12, 2010 at 4:20pm

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Friday accused challenger Joe Miller (R) of attempting to disenfranchise Alaska voters that wrote her name on their ballots earlier this month, and she warned that Sen. Jim DeMint will need to make the first move if he expects her to forgive him for defending Miller.

In an interview with CNN’s John King, Murkowski said the responsibility for repairing the rift between herself and the South Carolina Republican will be on DeMint.

“He has suggested that he’s got some making up to do. I’ll let him make that first move,” she said, according to an early transcript of the show, which airs at 7 p.m., Eastern time.

DeMint has been one of Murkowski’s most vocal conservative critics, and he spent significant resources to support Miller’s bid once he beat Murkowski in the Republican primary.

With Alaska election officials still tallying write-in votes, Murkowski appears to be leading Miller by a fairly significant margin. Although his campaign has sought to challenge some write-in votes that did not include perfect spelling of the Senator’s name, few of those complaints have stuck.

In the interview, Murkowski attacked Miller, accusing him of attempting to throw out write-ins that spelled her name correctly but that used a combination of cursive and print handwriting.

“What people have done is they have filled in the oval and they have written a name. And they’ve spelled the name right. And Miller doesn’t know what to do with the fact,” Murkowski said, explaining, “What we’re seeing now, I believe, quite honestly, are — are acts of desperation. We’re seeing lawsuits that are being filed. We are seeing ballots that are perfectly clear — perfectly clear ballots being challenged.”

“When you make challenges like this, you are working to disenfranchise that voter,” she added.

Murkowski also said she supports Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-Okla.) efforts to block a Conference-wide ban on earmarks in the Senate. “By eliminating earmarks, we are not reducing spending by a penny. What we are doing is we are shifting … the bureaucrats within, you know, whatever department, that spending decision.”

“What we will be doing is essentially giving that — that authority to make those spending decisions to the agencies,” she added.