September 19th, 2010
10:25 AM ET
11 years ago

Murkowski: I was victim of 'smear' campaign

(CNN) – Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is defending her choice to mount a write-in campaign in the wake of her defeat to a Tea Party-backed candidate, telling CNN’s Candy Crowley she was the victim of a “smear” campaign.

“What happened in my particular race, you had the Tea Party Express, this California-based group, come in at the last minute in a campaign, run a mudslinging, smear - just a terrible, terrible - campaign with lies and fabrications and mischaracterizations,” Murkowski told CNN’s Candy Crowley in an exclusive interview. “They came in, dumped $600,000 into a small market here in Alaska, and they absolutely clearly influenced the outcome.”

Murkowski lost her bid to political novice and Alaska attorney Joe Miller late last month in an upset that stunned national Republicans. But party leaders have since said they are supporting Miller, and have urged Murkowski not to mount a write-in bid. Murkowski herself resigned from her leadership post last week ahead of the write-in decision.

Speaking on CNN, the Alaska Republican said she is not concerned with making the Republican leadership happy.

“I am listening to my constituents. That's what it's all about,” she said. “It's not about trying to make the Republican Party happy … it's trying to respond to the people of the state of Alaska. I'm going to give them a choice.”

Since her announcement of a write-in bid Friday, Murkowski has faced fire from several members of her own party, including Sen. Jim DeMint, who called her a “hypocrite,” and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said she was “cheating.”

“It's trying to respond to the people of the state of Alaska,” Murkowski told CNN in response. “I'm going to give them a choice. And if the people on November 2 say, we don't like her, that's fine. But that's part of what we're doing here. That's part of the process as well.”

Murkowski also suggested that DeMint – who has repeatedly supported Tea Party-backed candidates over establishment picks this election cycle – may be waging a civil war within the GOP.

“I think he has made people uncomfortable. I think that he has kind of rattled the cages, whether it advances to a full-on civil war, I don't know. What I’m looking at right now is what's going on in my state. I'm responding to that. And quite honestly, what's happening within the conference is - I’m not focused on that. I'm focused on what's going on here back home,” she said.

Filed under: Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. geneonlbk

    Perhaps we are headed for a socio-economic breakdown. If the economy deteriorates further then look for people taking to the streets and we could have a really ugly glimpse of that corporate America has become.

    September 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Safely in the lower 48

    Sorry for the typos in the comment's tough on a small keyboard.

    September 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Aaron

    That is your own party that did that to you. Why would you want to remain a part of a party that would do that to you? That is kind of like staying in a house with a person that beats you. Time to move out. If you stay and the party still beats on you, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    September 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Mr. Man

    Check out the Witchcrafter the Tea Baggers backd in Delaware

    September 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    Conservatives use the same smear tactics on other Conservatives. They accuse even their fellow Conservatives of being "Liberal-Socialists" (whatever that is). Every Conservative campaign has only one argument:
    "My opponent is immoral."

    September 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Kevin Cantu

    Looks like the GOP is going to explode but only after the Election...I'm just curious as to why Demitt hasn't called out McCain, Lugar, Collins and Snowe??? These four Senators need to be removed as well if the GOP is going full throttle to the right. Sen. Demitt you have four so called RINO's in your party so ifyour serious I suggest you get rid of them as well by any means. With or with out an election....and there is still the issues with RNC chairman Steele???

    September 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. PssttCmere some dignity and leave graciously.

    September 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Tony

    You guys can thank Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin for this. Now the tea party is splitting your party. Those two almost singlehandedly gave the Tea Party a national stage. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. This will be an interesting November when the choice finally has to be made on whether the mud should slung at the "not conservative enough", "The way too conservative" and "The not conservative at all".

    September 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. kelly

    If this lady had been doing what the people wanted in her state she wouldn't have lost in the primary.

    September 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. CANERY

    Alaskans have spoken, they no longer want you. end of discussion

    September 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. doolindalton

    Maybe Lisa should stop assisting the rest of the Rs in blocking Obama's campaign reform act this fall while she has a chance.

    September 19, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Adam - Anchorage, AK

    Murkowski is a disgrace to all voters in Alaska. Sure 1600 or so votes is close but she lost and now she has added new meaning to the word loser. She's acting like an adolescent who's had a privilege taken away. I am embarrassed for having voted for and wish I could get a re-do. In short I am so angered by her maladjusted actions I have just made a hefty contribution to Miller and plan to be a volunteer for his campaign.

    September 19, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. jaeger

    Typical response from a career politician. When they lose an election they want to take everyone else down with them. Heaven forbid that they accept the opinion of the voter and accept their defeat gracefully. She would rather split the base and their vote, giving the office to the opposition party than support her party's platform. She's looking out for Number 1 and willing to throw the voter into a pile of Number 2.

    September 19, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    I saw that interview with Candy Crowley, and I must say that Sen. Lisa Murkowski stated her case well. She was 'purged' and not rightfully so. Special interests have put Joe Miller in her spot for reasons that are yet to be shown (if ever). This is happenning all over the Republican incumbents. This is a prime example of what can and is happenning when 'unknown' organizations and individuals finance elections. Please note President Obama's weekly address that has given saturday. (9/18/10). Go to the White House website for the transcript. Note also Mitch McConnel's rebuttal concerning 'rigged' elections on CNN's site regarding Obama's weekly address. Mitch seems to be pro-interest groups rigging elections. Readers, decide for yourselves.

    September 19, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. steve o'side

    Sounds like Arlen Specter in a skirt. Can't win amongest her own so she changes colors. Worked well for him didn't it? Blames it on folks from California (?) when in fact Palin (who also beat her dad) weighed in against her. Time for this life-time politico to enter the private work force where she'll actually have to work for a living. Poor baby. Oh and Maria, get a clue. You're sounding like a brick or two have fallen off your wagon.

    September 19, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Joe

    I'm glad to see that she's willing to fight back against the Mayberry Mafia. Send them all back to the trailer park. Good luck, Lisa.

    September 19, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. ray peters

    Murkowskis'decision reveals her overinflated ego and her "it's all about ME attitude". Her parties voters have spoken. She should support their choice.

    September 19, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. spizzell

    Wow, Lisa, you lost!! If you think a last minute campaign made you lose you are mistaken. Most voters don't listen to that crap anyway. They decided they didn't want you in that office. You doing this shows that YOU believe in YOU more than you believe in the PEOPLE!! You lost. If it wan't meant to be, then run again. You actions are the very reason people voted against you and don't want you in the Senate.

    September 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. AS

    This woman disgusts me. She is exactly what is wrong with politics today. Murkowski only got her senate gig because of daddy. Now that her party decides she is no longer wanted, she has to be a sore loser. Go away Lisa go earn something in your life!

    September 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |

    Willa-PA, I agree with you. Although I think the term Replicant may be more valid. The Tea Party worries me because they are vocally violent, nationalistic, a tight-knit group that is pro-military and unwilling to listen to any other ideas. Similarly, they make threats of violence against opposition and demonize their opponents. Anyone else see the historical connections to 1930's Germany?

    September 19, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. eric zimmerman

    Hmmmm......So now exposing a candidate's voting record is a "smear campaign." Pathetic.......Please just go away.

    September 19, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Peg

    It amazes me that people are so gullible that they fall for the Tea Party candidates lies. If the Tea Party takes over our government, we are all going to be subjected to new laws that are going to affect our every day lives like you can't imagine. The idea of personal freedoms, and separation of church and state will go right out the window. We're playing with fire here, and people are so busy hating President Obama that they can't even see it.

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. darla

    Poor baby. What a victim! Obviously, she belongs in the Democrat party.
    As opposed to being a brainless redneck bully like the Republican ha a bully whose are despised and hated by others ha Steve? Your wrong She's not intelligent to be a Democrat she looks like a witch not a geek.

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. Independent voter

    "Having said that... If she runs, she's just going to split the democrat vote, not the repub vote, no repub in their right mind would vote for her now."

    I think you are wrong. Not all republicans are extreme right, backwards individuals who embrace the morons from the tea party. The republican vote will be split and that is a good thing. We do not need these backwards, tea party individuals in congress.

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |

    Republican party Reps and Senators are a bunch of whiny b*tches that can't hack life in the REAL WORLD so they tend to lose their 'values' (like they ever had any values) in situations such as this....Your State rejected you like AMERICA rejected the McCain/Palin circus back in 08,get over it,start looking for a job,and stop whining...

    September 19, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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