After helping federal magistrate Joe Miller win an upset Republican primary against incumbent Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the prominent Tea Party Express continues to pour money into advertising in the state. However, Murkowski, the victim of the PAC’s attacks in her nascent write-in campaign, is speaking out against the PAC’s latest ad.
The spot claims that Murkowski “tried to influence the absentee vote count” after the GOP primary with Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, and that she set out to “manipulate the Libertarian Party into giving her their slot on the ballot.”
In a statement, Murkowski labeled the ad “vile” and her campaign is now warning television stations in the state not to run it.
“Alaskans deserve a better political discourse than this,” said Murkowski. “This ad is vile. Accusing me of influencing the absentee voter count is dirty politics at it worst.”
The campaign sent a letter Monday to nine Alaska TV stations that said the outlets have “a legal and a moral obligation” to not allow the ad to be broadcast on their airwaves.
“A copy of the ad released today by the group shows the ad is a false, misleading and deceptive advertisement concerning the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Alaska,” wrote Timothy McKeever, a lawyer for the Murkowski campaign. “Because the ad is incorrect an attempt by the sponsors to mislead Alaskan voters, you have both a legal and a moral obligation to not broadcast the ad.”
The chairman of Alaska’s Libertarian Party also told the AP that the party did not feel manipulated by Murkowski. The Libertarian Party was first approached by Murkowski supporters about the ballot line.
The ad is clearly a stretch of reality. We followed this story closely at IPR. While discussions between Murkowski and the party did take place, it appears that the decision not to run the Senator on the Libertarian ballot line was an amicable one.
Nevertheless, the ad is an interesting spin upon typical rhetoric towards third parties. While it does criticize Murkowski as a “sore loser” candidate, it does not attack the Libertarian Party for considering Murkowski. Instead, it portrays the Alaska LP as the victim in the entire situation.
The party is still running David Haase in the Senate race. The last poll to include the candidate by name place him at 2%.