Senate races

Senate races

DeMint rips Murkowski as 'big-tent hypocrite'

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) ripped into Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as a "big-tent hypocrite" in a fundraising e-mail for Tea Party favorite and GOP nominee Joe Miller on Saturday.

Murkowski announced Friday that, after the primary defeat at the hands of Miller, she would pursue a write-in bid to keep her Senate seat. 

DeMint's e-mail for the Senate Conservatives Fund accused Murkowski of putting her personal interests above party interests and said her move "puts this seat at serious risk."

"The establishment loves to lecture conservatives about how we need to support liberal candidates to 'expand the tent' and win seats for Republicans," DeMint wrote. "But when these candidates lose their primaries, many leave the party and join the opposition. When conservatives lose their primaries, however, they accept defeat and support the nominee. Murkowski's betrayal provides more proof that big-tent hypocrites don't really care about winning a majority for Republicans."

DeMint singled out Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Charlie Crist (I-Fla.) for facing "defeat" and leaving the party.

"This is why Republicans shouldn't apologize for supporting principled conservatives in primary elections, even in states like Delaware," DeMint wrote without metioning surprise nominee and Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell by name.

"Principles have never been that important to Murkowski," DeMint said, proceeding to assail his Senate colleague for her positions on cap-and-trade, healthcare reform repeal, earmarks and abortion rights.

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No meeting for O'Donnell and NRSC

There was no meeting Friday between Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) and National Republican Senate Campaign Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas). 

The two were supposed to meet when O'Donnell came to Washington.

O'Donnell campaign officials said the schedules couldn't be synced but they are hoping to meet soon.

The meeting was set up to reiterate the NRSC's support for O'Donnell's campaign after her surprise win in Tuesday's primary against party-backed candidate Mike Castle (R-Del.). There were questions about how much the party would back her after the NRSC released a tepid statement following her victory. But the group quickly donated $42,000 — the maximum allowed — to her campaign, and Cornyn released a statement saying she had their backing.

O'Donnell is speaking Friday afternoon at the Value Voters Summit in Washington.

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Alaska Dem: Joe Miller 'hand-selected' by Sarah Palin

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was a major focus of the first general-election debate in Alaska's Senate race Thursday, with Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) going after Tea Party-backed Joe Miller (R) as Palin's anointed candidate.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, McAdams said Miller was "groomed" by Palin for the slot and labeled him a danger to Alaska's economy given his stance against earmarks.

Miller disputed the notion that he was a Palin pawn, noting, "I'm my own guy."

The two met for their first debate even as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was still deciding whether to launch an independent write-in bid this fall. It's an announcement she is expected to make Friday.

But if she does decide to run, McAdams said he wouldn't mind a Murkowski victory, assuming he doesn't take the seat himself.

More from the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday's debate:

McAdams said the state deserves its fair share and that saying no to earmarks is a threat to Alaska.

Miller said he would never say no to federal funding for Alaska, a still-young state that has been heavily reliant on federal aid for building up its infrastructure and other needs. While he said he had a great deal of respect for the late former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who brought home billions in money and projects during his decades in the Senate, Miller also declared the era of earmarks "dead" and said a new approach is needed now, with the federal government deep in debt and belt-tightening necessary. He said Alaskans must be prepared for that new day.

Miller said the responsibility for a senator rests not with securing earmarks — something members of the delegation, including U.S. Rep. Don Young, have unabashedly done for years — but with ensuring the state gets its fair share at the appropriations table. He also sees the need for easing federal regulations that he believes have limited Alaska's ability to develop its energy and resource base.

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