Defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski plans to announce this evening that she will mount a write-in campaign to retain her Senate seat.
POLITICO has learned that the senator, en route from Washington, D.C. to Anchorage for her planned Friday evening announcement, phoned supporters from her connection in the Minneapolis Airport to let them know she had decided to mount a write-in campaign.
Murkowski lost the GOP nomination last month to attorney Joe Miller, but has been weighing her options to stay in the race. She said earlier this week that she would announce whether she would mount a write-in campaign Friday at 5 p.m. in Anchorage, Alaska.
Murkowski's supporters, meanwhile, have planned an event this afternoon for the senator in anticipation of her planned announcement, which they advertised as a “kick off” for her write-in campaign.
“I have no doubt that Lisa is going to announce that people should write in her name and fill in the oval,” said Bonnie Jack, a volunteer and longtime Murkowski supporter.
Jack told POLITICO that he received word early this morning that she should start making calls for today’s event, during which the senator would ask supporters to “write in her name and fill in the oval.”
Other supporters forwarded e-mail invitations to the Murkowski event with the slogan, “MUR KOW SKI. See it. Spell it. Write it. Check the box.”
Running a write-in campaign will be an extremely difficult undertaking for Murkowski – even with the more than $1 million that she still has in her campaign account. She also will not not have the backing of national or local Republicans, who have wholeheartedly backed Miller's bid since Murkowski's defeat.
It is for this reason and many others that the senator has been waffling about the decision over the past 24 hours, according to one source close to Murkowski’s campaign. However, the source said Murkowski called officials from her connection in the Minneapolis airport to say she was going to go ahead with the write-in campaign.
An Alaska Republican pollster, Dave Dittman, said that he believed Murkowski was set on staying in the race last week, when she told the Associated Press that she was “still in this game.” But since those comments, Murkowski has been indecisive about whether to pursuea write-in bid.
But on Thursday evening, Dittman said Murkowski was making calls to some of her most prominent supporters in Alaska, seeking their attendance at Friday’s campaign kick-off, including the heads of many local businesses, state legislators and University of Alaska officials.
But Dittman said that Murkowski ran into resistance at the last minute Thursday night from some of her top supporters (continues here)