By Libby Casey
In the tight Republican primary Senate race between Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, a new vote count won’t come until Tuesday, the assigned day for tallying absentee and question ballots turned in so far. But that doesn’t mean the campaigns are staying out of the news.
Joe Miller’s camp ignited a controversy today when he – or his campaign – seemed to compare Senator Murkowski to a prostitute on Twitter.
The tweet from Joe Miller’s account read:
“What’s the difference between selling out your party’s values and the oldest profession?”
It linked to a story wondering whether Senator Murkowski would run on the November ballot as a Libertarian candidate – and whether the Libertarian Party in Alaska would back her.
The “oldest profession” refers to… prostitution.
So… was Joe Miller comparing Lisa Murkowski to a prostitute? His campaign spokesman, Randy DeSoto, says he was not. DeSoto says it was a staffer, not Miller himself, who wrote the tweet, and that he was referring to Libertarians.
DeSoto said by email that he would not name the staffer, but says he “lost his twitter privileges.”
Within the hour of the tweet going live, it was gone – yanked down by Miller’s campaign – but it didn’t entirely disappear, because others re-tweeted it, and it spread throughout cyberspace.
Miller has a new comment on the website now, which says:
“Please accept my apologies. Staffer trying to encourage Libertarians not to sell out.”
The Murkowski campaign doesn’t accept the explanation.
This is just absolutely deplorable!
John Bitney is Murkowski’s campaign manager.
This is not somebody I want to see in the US senate on my behalf. If this is his attitude, his approach, and it’s revealing of his character, it’s disgusting.
In a press release Lisa Murkowski called for an apology to her family. Bitney says it makes no difference if a staffer wrote it, since it went out under the official name of Joe Miller.
And this is a high profile race in the United States. And to have stuff like that going out there, it does not reflect well on our state. Alaskans should be upset. He should personally apologize to Alaskans, to Senator Murkowski, and basically as far as I’m concerned, to all women.
Now, if Miller’s campaign wasn’t referring to Murkowski, but Alaska’s Libertarians, what’s their reaction? Scott Kohlhaas is the state chairman for the Libertarian Party of Alaska.
As a way of influencing us? That is not the way to go. We haven’t done anything, and they’re… they’re name-calling already.
Kohlhaas says the Miller people shouldn’t drive the Libertarians away:
We like the Miller people, we’d like to get a meeting with them right now. But they’re a little too tired right now after their campaign to get anything together on that. So we haven’t even had a chance to talk to them.
Kohlhaas says so many things have to line up before they’d even consider bringing Murkowski on board… and he says they’re not in “official” talks, just thinking through all their options. Besides, the ballot count isn’t even done yet.
There are so many different factors involved before a decision can be made, there’s no sense in getting worked up about it. My final word would be relax!
The Tea Party Express, the California-based national group that supports Miller and poured over half a million dollars into his race, does not seem bothered by the prostitution comment.
Spokesman Levi Russell wrote to APRN that, quoting his email:
“comparing Murowski to the behavior of that ‘oldest profession’ isn’t necessary, when her actions speak for themselves.”
He accused Murkowski of being willing to abandon her party and principal.
But Lisa Murkowski has said it’s far too early to even think about pursuing any sort of third-party candidacy. She’s holding out hope that the ballot count goes her way.