Murkowski Will Mostly Spend Lead-Up to Election in Alaska

Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:48pm

Sen. Lisa Murkowski will remain in her home state of Alaska for the foreseeable future as she mounts a write-in campaign to retain her Senate seat, her campaign said Monday.

“Sen. Murkowski is now in a political fight that will determine the future of the State of Alaska, and will be spending most of the time between now and the election campaigning back home. She will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to return to Washington for particular votes or other business,” campaign Communications Director Steve Wackowski said in an e-mail.

“Over the next 42 days, Sen. Murkowski will be fighting for Alaska’s future, and Alaskans can expect to see her campaigning hard throughout the state,” he said.

The Alaska Republican’s decision means she will miss Tuesday’s weekly conference luncheon, when Republicans are expected to discuss her future as ranking Member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. GOP aides said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is expected to raise the question of whether Murkowski should be stripped of her committee leadership title. A spokesman for DeMint did not return requests for comment.

DeMint has been critical of Murkowski’s decision to run a write-in campaign after she lost the primary election to Joe Miller, and aides said at a minimum DeMint will likely raise the topic for discussion.
In theory, DeMint could call for a formal meeting of the conference to decide the fate of the ranking Member spot. But that appears unlikely.

A leadership aide pointed out that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is next in line on the committee. Since he is focused on his own re-election and already serves as ranking Member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it is unlikely he will demand a vote. “I don’t think he’s going to make a big stink about it. So she’s lucked out in that regard,” the aide said.