By Dave Donaldson, Libby Casey, Rosemarie Alexander
Governor Parnell today affirmed his endorsement of Republican and Tea Party candidate Joe Miller’s bid for the U-S Senate seat now occupied by Lisa Murkowski.
The two appeared at the same event in Wasilla today.
The governor was quoted recently as saying he thinks highly of Senator Murkowski, but his campaign manager Michelle Toohey says today’s appearance shows that he also thinks highly of Miller.
He’s proud to support the voters’ nominee in the August 24th primary. And he said he stood proudly in support of Joe Miller for U-S Senate. He said Joe is a constitutional conservative and he’ll be a principled leader. But it’s really about honoring the primary process and standing up for that candidate who the voters choose in that process.
Earlier this week, Parnell endorsed the Republican Party’s nominee without using Miller’s name during a candidate debate in Anchorage. But today’s joint event was the first time they had personally aligned their campaigns. Toohey says there might be future joint appearances, but that the governor has his own race to consider.
Parnell endorsed neither Miller nor Murkowski during the Primary campaigns.
Miller is running against Democrat Scott McAdams – as well as running against Senator Murkowski’s re-election attempt by looking for write-in votes. Murkowski was travelling in Juneau today where she said she is counting on the greater endorsement that will come on election day.
What I’m doing is focusing on gaining endorsements from Alaskans all over the state. That’s what we’re seeing here in Juneau. The support from people in this community has been real, tangible and huge. And that’s where I am tonight.
Meanwhile, Congressman Don Young is not endorsing a candidate in the U-S Senate race. He says he called both Republicans, Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, to explain why he’s staying out of it:
Senator Murkowski my friend, Senator Murkowski Senior was a friend of mine, Frank and Nancy and Lou and I have been friends for 40 years. Served with him, when he was Commissioner, hunt with him, break bread with him, and watched their kids grow up as they’ve watched mine. So that’s a friendship. Joe won the race in the primary, and I respect that, but I’m not going to support him, primarily for the reason of Lisa.
Young says there’s another reason he’s not endorsing primary winner Joe Miller:
My daughter told me if I was to endorse Joe Miller she’d never bake me another pie. And she’s a great pie maker and I’m not going to take any chance on that.
Young says he’s disappointed that more Alaskans don’t turn out for primary contests, so he’d like to move Alaska’s primary from August to either springtime or early October, when he says more people would be engaged in politics. Young says while Lisa Murkowski has a long-shot as a write in candidate, it’s not time to count her out.
It’s always hard, I always say though there’s nothing impossible. And we’ll see what happens. It all depends on desire, and the people who believe they’d better participate. If they don’t it won’t happen, you know.