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Miller: Murkowski broke her word

By Alison Harding, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost the GOP Senate primary to once-little-known Joe Miller
  • Murkowski has announced she'll run as a write-in candidate
  • Miller says Murkowski "contradicted the word she gave" to back the GOP winner

(CNN) -- Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller hit back at his on-again opponent Sen. Lisa Murkowski Monday, saying she broke her word to voters by announcing her plans to run as a write-in candidate in the Alaska Senate race.

"I won the Republican primary with largest Republican voter turnout in the history of this state, and we've had an extraordinary number come behind this campaign in the days following that, and even more coming behind this campaign after [Murkowski] announced her write-in campaign, which of course contradicted the word she gave just a few days before the primary that she would support the victor of the Republican primary," Miller told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

Murkowski was defeated in Alaska's GOP primary by the once-little-known Miller, who enjoyed the backing of Tea Party activists and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Just a few weeks after conceding the race, Murkowski announced that she would mount a write-in campaign, following an outpouring of support that gave her a "moment of pause from her previous plans to wrap up her career as a senator," a Murkowski spokesman told CNN.

On Sunday, Murkowski blamed her loss on the Tea Party Express, telling CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the group unfairly influenced the outcome of the race.

"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 Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union."

"They came in, dumped $600,000 into a small market here in Alaska, and they absolutely clearly influenced the outcome."

But Miller dismissed the criticism, calling Murkowski "hypocritical," and pointing to reports that Murkowski met with lobbyists in Washington prior to announcing her write-in campaign, to drum up financial support.

"We have some out-of-state money coming in, but the people supporting the campaign have a vested interest in saving this country, this is the American people saying that the system is broken and we see people moving things in the right direction," Miller said.

In a previous appearance on "John King, USA," Miller charged that the country is heading toward socialism, and went after Democrats for "expanding the entitlement state."

It's a charge that has not gone unnoticed by Democratic leaders, who have sought to portray Miller as a fringe candidate whose small-government convictions fall to the right of most Republicans.

In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," former President Bill Clinton weighed in on the Alaska race, saying of Miller: "I understand it said that [Miller] thought unemployment compensation was unconstitutional. Well putting 10 million more people in bread lines is not my idea of how to bring the economy back or balance the budget."

But Miller denied that he would abolish unemployment payments and instead called for an eventual transition back to the state level for such programs, contending that they are unsustainable at the federal level.

"The federal government has kept down the American worker, has kept down the American economy, whether it's by Obamacare, that 1099 requirement, whether it's taxation. The party of Bill Clinton is the problem," Miller said.

 
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