Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, was more than disappointed with his fellow GOP members in the Senate who decided, by secret ballot, to allow Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, to remain as ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Murkowski lost her GOP primary to Joe Miller and is now running as a write-in candidate.
Following the news on Wednesday that Ms. Murkowski would keep her leadership spot on energy, members remained tight lipped about what exactly their reasoning was to allow her to stay in her post on energy, considering there was speculation on Tuesday that she would lose her leadership post on the committee. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, refused to answer any questions from reporters on Wednesday about details behind the decision making.
In an e-mail to his supporters, though, Mr. DeMint described what happened at the closed-door meeting Wednesday among Senate Republicans over whether or not Ms. Murkowski should keep her leadership position on the energy committee. (h/t Politico)
“It was bad enough to watch my colleagues work to support her in the primary after she had built a record of betraying conservatives principles,” writes DeMint. “But watching them back her after she left the party and launched a campaign against the Republican nominee was more than I could bear.”
“One senator after another stood up to argue in favor of protecting her place on the committee — a position she will no doubt use in her campaign against Joe Miller, the conservative Republican nominee.”
Mr. DeMint is the only Republican Senator who has publicly voiced an objection to the situation. An Alaska paper reported that Joe Miller said that Senator McConnell promised that Ms. Murkowski would be removed from her post on the energy committee.
What about the National Republican Senatorial Committee? I asked Senator John Cornyn, Texas Republican and Chairman of the NRSC, if the committee would aggressively campaign against Ms. Murkowski.
“We’re going to be supporting Joe Miller and the history of write-in candidates are not very good and it’s a real up-hill battle. We’re going to be supporting the Republican nominee in every way we can. I expect he will be the next U.S. Senator,” he said.
That seems hardly re-assuring. Senator Murkowski is already attacking Mr. Miller. Will the NRSC step up or simply stand on the sidelines smiling with signs that say, “Go Joe!” Does John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell have any kind of counter-offensive if the official Republican candidate is being attacked by a write-in who is behind by double digits?
Why are these GOP senators trying to destroy Mr. Miller’s 20 point lead over Ms. Murkowski and the Democratic Candidate Scott McAdams right now? It can’t just be an issue of numbers in the Senate, because Mr. Miller currently has this race in the bag. However, if the Senate GOP caucus decision on Wednesday hurts Mr. Miller in anyway, names will be taken and voters in the conservative base of the Republican Party will remember.