By Libby Casey
Senator Murkowski plans to announce on Friday whether or not she’ll run as a write-in candidate for U-S Senate. Her campaign released a statement today confirming she’s not seeking the Libertarian Party’s slot on the November ballot.
Murkowski is headed back to Washington right now. She plans to attend an Appropriations Committee markup on Thursday dealing with defense and other funding bills.
She was noticeably absent from Washington today as Senate members met for their weekly party caucus lunches. After they meet behind closed doors, each party holds a press briefing. Over the past year, Murkowski has often been part of the star Republican team that addresses reporters, since she’s a member of their leadership ranks.
This morning the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, unequivocally threw his support behind the man who beat Murkowski in the Republican primary last month, Joe Miller. McConnell appeared on M-S-N-B-C, and told reporter Chuck Todd that it’s time for Murkowski to bow out.
MCCONNELL: I’m gonna support Joe Miller. He won the primary fair and square, Senator Murkowski conceded the primary election. It would be my hope obviously she would accept the result and move on. TODD: But have you reached out to her? Have you reached out to her and asked her not to… MCCONNELL: I’m not going to talk about private conversations with Senator Murkowski. I talk to her frequently, I do all the time. She’s a member of our leadership team, and I have a good relationship with her. She knows I’m supporting Joe Miller. I’ve contributed to Joe Miller, the NRSC is going to contribute to him. We expect him to be the next Senator from Alaska.
Senator McConnell has contributed $5-thousand to Miller’s campaign.
Yesterday a group of Republicans from Fairbanks wrote to McConnell looking for him to unequivocally support Miller and ask Murkowski to bow out. The letter was sent by Mike Dunton, who’s a local Republican leader and executive of Mt McKinley Bank in Fairbanks. It complains that he and his friends are worried Murkowski will launch a write-in bid for the Senate seat and split the Republican vote. It says they’re “very concerned and troubled” that she has not endorsed Miller.
At the same time, Murkowski supporters have been urging her to get back in the race, through a campaign on Facebook as well as by contacting the campaign.
Meanwhile, the race for the Senate seat isn’t waiting for Murkowski to speak up. Joe Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams both plan to be in Petersburg tomorrow for a meeting of the Southeast Conference. The two also will have their first public debate in Juneau on Thursday.