Alaska GOP, Miller clash in state’s US Senate race

  • By Becky Bohrer
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2016 10:44pm
  • News

JUNEAU — The waning days of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race have been marked by fighting between the state Republican party and Libertarian candidate Joe Miller.

Miller was the GOP Senate nominee in 2010, having upset incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the primary. Murkowski won the general election as a write-in candidate and is seeking re-election this year.

Last week, state GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock filed an election complaint against Miller over campaign disclosures, which Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto called a desperation move.

Meanwhile, Miller’s camp raised questions about money transfers from Murkowski’s campaign to the state GOP. An attorney for Murkowski’s campaign, Timothy McKeever, said the contributions were legal.

Babcock said Wednesday that his obligation as party leader is to support Republican candidates who won their primaries.

“Our primary voters didn’t choose Mr. Miller. They chose Sen. Murkowski,” he said.

Babcock said he also wants to discourage people from running as third-party candidates and splitting the potential Republican vote.

Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said Babcock’s position is “ironic to the extreme” since Murkowski made an outsider run in 2010. That race caused divisions within the party.

Babcock said in the past there have been concerns that the party had “picked favorites” after a primary. He said he’s trying to set a standard in which the party honors all candidates picked by primary voters.

This year, that Republican slate includes Murkowski, U.S. Rep. Don Young and presidential candidate Donald Trump. Both Murkowski and Young have sought to distance themselves from Trump. Murkowski has said she can’t vote for him or Democrat Hillary Clinton.

DeSoto said he doesn’t think the party would be focusing on Miller if it didn’t see him as a threat.

Miller joined this year’s race in September, as a last-minute substitution on the Libertarian ticket when that party’s candidate withdrew.

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