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Ousted in GOP primary, senator seeks advice from colleagues

From Ted Barrett and Dana Bash, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sen. Murkowski is scheduled to announce Friday whether she will run in November
  • She had a long talk Thursday with Sens. Snowe and Lincoln

Washington (CNN) -- A day before she declares whether she will mount a write-in candidacy to preserve her Senate seat, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski spent several hours in and around the Senate chamber Thursday talking with her colleagues about the difficult decision she faces.

After unexpectedly losing the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, Murkowski is scheduled to be in Alaska Friday to announce whether she run in the general election.

"I don't share personal conversations," Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said about a lengthy discussion she and Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas had with Murkowski in a closed foyer just off the Senate floor.

Visible through a partially frosted glass door, the three women senators stood together for about half an hour during a series of votes.

Snowe is a moderate Republican who later Thursday complained to reporters that Tea Party supporters want "ideological purity" in the Republican Party. Lincoln, a moderate Democrat, barely survived a challenge from the left in her primary. Now she is far down in the polls to a conservative Republican opponent.

"She's a great colleague and a friend as well," Snowe said about Murkowski. "Obviously, we feel very bad about it. She's been serving in the Senate with great standing and distinction."