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. not rich

    I simply don't understand all the name calling in criticizing Lisa Murkowski for mounting a write in campaign? Had she lost decisively I would agree, but that is not the case. She lost by 1% of the vote drawing 49% to Joe Miller's 50%. By any measure 49% of her states constituency has a right to vote for her in the November election and now they can. Good for Lisa.

    September 19, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Bill Anderson

    What a whiner! She lost and she should step aside. This is another example of the arrogance of so many of our leaders.

    September 19, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Kyle

    What was there to smear? Murkowski had the brilliant idea that the EPA shouldn't be allowed to monitor carbon emissions. I have no love for the Tea Party and clearly Murkowski made an enemy of Palin along the way, but as one of the two defenders of BP (along with Joe Barton) she will not be missed.

    September 19, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. vic, Nashville TN

    Republicans who lost to Tea party Candidates in Kentucky Delaware Utah and Nevada should Flow Murkowski and Charlie Crist

    September 19, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Troy

    The Wiccan leaders of the Tea Party are out to destroy America.

    September 19, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Joe Schmoe

    All you people here reading CNN are bad and evil. You are all going to become irrelevant in a few weeks.

    September 19, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. BillJ

    Good for Senator Murkowski. More power to her. The idea of Californians coming into a state like Alaska and manipulating the public is ridiculous. This smells like the kind of action that will come back to haunt them. More power to Senator Murkowski!

    September 19, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Billy

    No doubt, Lisa Murkowski is not a Tea drinker. No Tea-Party to GOP incumbent. Can voters spell her name correctly on the ballots? It is easier to check a box – Joe Miller, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease. End the suffering. Wouldn't you, Lisa?

    September 19, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Sam


    Before you start saying Democrats are more adept at and more likely to use smear campaigns than Republicans, there 's a big difference between Obama joking that McCain didn't know how to send an e-mail and Sarah Palin stating publicly that Obama "pals around with terrorists." You are entitled to your opinion but not to your own facts. And the facts show conclusively that it was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who were orchestrating a smear campain during the 2008 elections. Ever since the infamous "Willie Horton" ad of 1988 this has been the Republicans' stock in trade.

    September 19, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. resol

    Rose, regarding the 2008 presidential elections, it is not a smear if it is true. a smear would be something along the lines of the whole "swiftboat" campaign. basically, a lot of lies perpetuated by very few compared with the majority who had a different view (and the actual facts). thank you very little. your understanding is underwhelming

    September 19, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Smc

    Repubs don't mind the birth-certificate, he's-a-secret-Muslim sort of lies when they're directed at Dems. What they're beginning to realize is that, when you're dealing with pathological liars, they can just as easily turn the lies against you. Surprise, you've embraced a bunch of people with no integrity–and now you're surprised that they have no integrity.

    September 19, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. BD70

    I don't know anything about Murkowski. I will say she is right to hang in there and fight against anything Palin endorses whom I do know about. And I still will not forgive McCain for unleashing her on the lower 48.

    September 19, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Feel Entitled much?

    She's revealed herself to be a snake. That's why CNN is now embracing her, hoping to help siphon votes from Miller to elect the Obamacrat.

    September 19, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Kyle

    Isn't it interesting the Tea Party is all about restoring the Constitution, less spending, reducing the defecit.....yet they don't support a single Democrat. You know there are fiscal conservative Democrats out there.

    September 19, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Ken Warren

    “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.”

    It would have been nice if she was doing this while she was in the Senate to begin with, but like most Republican politicians she voted the Republican way. Democratic politicians vote the way the Democratic paryty says. She was not voting what was best for the country or her constituents, but what would keep her in power. The problem is that the Tea Party lunatics changed the rules and just voting the party way was not enough, you had to have a conscience on what you voted for or against.

    September 19, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Buster Bloodvessel

    Sorry, she's now a RINO. Real Republicans are in the Tea Bag Group, trying to get rid of Social Security.

    September 19, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Robrob

    I just hope and pray the Tea Baggers can hold it together and keep from imploding until at least 2012. They are Obama's best weapon!

    September 19, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Matt

    Funny to see all the teabaggers on here telling Sen. Murkowski to "get over it": we all saw how well *their* candidates "got over it" in NY-23 didn't we?

    But it's not like that'd be the FIRST time teabaggers showed themselves to be hypocritical whiners: see also "Medicare recipients against government involvement in healthcare", toolbags collecting millions in farm subsidies complaining about "parasites", etc.

    September 19, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Smc

    In response to those who keep saying Alaskans don't want a whiner, are you kidding? Alaskans LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Sarah Palin–and she quit halfway through her term as the governor. She constantly makes herself out to be a victim. Whining is Sarah's calling card.

    September 19, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. batb FL

    You poor mixed up people! Lisa lost, the real reason is: We the People are tired of the incumbants! Lisa shouldjust shut up and go home. Let the chips fall where they may! You people seem to forget that bush had a democRAT congress to work with, that was reason enough of him to fail in a lot of things. Blame Congress, led by Pelosi, piglosi, for short! She & reid along with obummer are destroying this country and you all don't even see it!! Wake up America! obama is a socialist/marxist and that is why he is leading us over the cliff! obama hates America and her people. So does michelle, she said life in the WH was hell!

    September 19, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Speakclearly

    She didnt deserve to be senator any way, her daddy appointed her to the position when he became senator and vacated the position.......time to move on Lisa you're yesterdays news....

    September 19, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Rob

    I have no pitty for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. What was (and is) her position on campaign finance reform? Republicans have pretty much opened the door to special interest and corporate takeovers of local elections because of the unrestrained ability of deep pockets to funnel money into local elections. As far as I am concerned she is simply spitting out the sour grapes that the result of typical Republican policies.

    September 19, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Anonymous

    George W. is the greatest president ever!

    September 19, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. David Zaayer

    The Republicans have been doing this kind of crap to the Democrats for years. Now they scream and whine like little piggies when it happens to them. Too bad. I am really enjoying the the Republican Demolition Derby. Go Tea Baggers, Go!

    September 19, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Lisa you conceded too soon and allowed for election fraud.
    Every ballot should have been counted. You lost by just over 1000 votes with 15,000 votes left un counted. It is the right of every voter to be counted and heard, especially when there are mote ballots out then votes down.
    I hope you continue your write-in campaign. I also hope you allow for a full count .

    September 19, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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