How did Murkowski win? Go figure
Lisa Murkowski is the first to win a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate in more than half a century. But that’s not the important part.
The Alaska Republican is also a moderate who sounds determined to defy the hardline GOP ‘defeat Obama’ drumbeat in Congress and the uncompromising politics of the Tea Party.
Why? Because, she says, that’s what the general election voters who enabled her to triumph over the Tea Party – and her home-state nemesis Sarah Palin – want her to do.
“This was not a Republican campaign. This was Democrats and Republicans and independents all coming together,” Murkowski says in an interview with NBC’s Today show.
“What they said was: ‘We want the consensus-building that I bring to the table. We don’t want governance based on anger or fear. We want governance that comes about when people reach across the table.”
Her Palin-backed Tea Party opponent, Joe Miller, has not yet conceded the race. But Alaska election authorities are widely expected to certify Murkowski’s win later this month.
The Nov. 2 midterm elections swept Republicans into the majority in the House and narrowed Democratic control in the Senate. Some GOP officials see that as a repudiation of Obama’s policies and an endorsement of their own fiscal conservatism.
Little wonder that the 2012 presidential race is quickly becoming front and center.
But Murkowski, who succeeded after Miller knocked her out in their party primary, reads something different in the tea leaves and she says the message is not about partisan agendas or election days yet to come.
“We have too much to do for these next two years to be focused on who’s going to be president or who’s going to be leading the Senate in 2012. We have got an obligation to the people of this country to govern,” she says.
“That’s what the American people want. That’s what the people of Alaska have asked for: ‘Get to work, whether you’re working with the president, whether you’re working with the majority leader or the speaker — figure it out, Congress.’”
So, yeah, go figure.
Photo Credits: Reuters/Larry Downing (Murkowski); Reuters/Scott Audette (Palin); Reuters/Jason Reed (McConnell, Obama and Boehner)