Things are getting ugly in the Senate Republican caucus when it comes to the Alaska Senate race. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced last week that she would seek election as a write-in candidate following her loss in the Republican primary to tea-party candidate Joe Miller. But her Senate colleagues have pushed her out of her leadership position and made it clear she's no longer welcome. Today, an email signed by her colleague, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, dug the knife in a little deeper.
"Rather than accepting defeat and working to unite Republicans behind Joe Miller, she has decided to put her own personal interests ahead of everything else," wrote DeMint in a letter to supporters in his role as chairman of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC "dedicated to electing true conservatives to the United States Senate." He also called Murkowski a "big-tent hypocrite" and a "Republican-in-name-only."
Not that Murkowski's been silent on the inter-party warfare. Over the weekend, she said in reference to DeMint, "I don't think that's it's particularly helpful to undercut fellow Republicans." She also said DeMint "has made people uncomfortable," and accused him of having "rattled cages."
DeMint's response? "This might be a fair criticism if she weren't the one running a write-in campaign against Republican nominee in her state," he said. Ouch. His fundraising plea continues:
Principles have never been that important to Murkowski. She supported a massive cap-and-trade energy tax that would permanently destroy millions of jobs in this country. She has waffled on whether she would support repeal of Obama's health care take over. She is one of the worst abusers of the pay-to-play earmarks system. And she doesn't support the sanctity of human life. With positions like these, it's no surprise she's leaving the party.
If Murkowski pulls off her write-in bid (which is a big if, considering the trouble her own campaign seems to have spelling her name), it would sure make for some awkward party gatherings next year, eh?