Murkowski rates write-in campaign courageous or crazy
“Political courage or just plain crazy.”
That’s the explanation Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski gives for why, against her party’s wishes, she waged a write-in campaign to hang on to her U.S. Senate seat.
The ballots are still being counted but Murkowski looks set to make history as the first senator to be elected in a write-in campaign since Strom Thurmond in 1954.
“This is a whole new world for me and a whole new world for my colleagues,” Murkowski said in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS on Monday.
Murkowski has made a stunning comeback after being defeated in Alaska’s Republican Senate primary election by Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin-endorsed Joe Miller.
“I do not pass the purity test that the Tea Party has set out. It’s as simple as that,” Murkowski said. “But I don’t think most people in my state pass that.”
Asked about her relationship with Palin, a former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008, Murkowski said: “I’m still her senator. I’m going to work hard to represent her too.”
Palin and Murkowski have a history.
Palin, who ousted Murkowski’s father in Alaska’s 2006 gubernatorial race, is seen as a potential 2012 presidential contender. But Murkowski says she would not back Palin for the job.
“I just do not think that she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies. She was my governor for two years and I don’t think that she enjoyed governing,” Murkowski said.
Despite heated rhetoric between Republicans and Democrats before, during and after the Nov. 2 elections, Murkowski said she has nothing against President Barack Obama.
“I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail. If he does well, that means the country’s doing well,” she said. “We don’t have time as a nation to spend all of what we do blocking.”
Is Murkowski entertaining any thoughts of repeating her unusual Senate re-election quest on the presidential level?
“A national write-in campaign. Wouldn’t that be wild? No, we’re not thinking about this,” she said. “I’m still counting votes in Juneau.”
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing (Murkowski (C) with Senators Jud Gregg (L) and Lamar Alexander (R) after meeting with Obama on energy and climate legislation in June 29, 2010)