Murkowski, Sullivan resign GOP posts after denouncing Trump

  • By Becky Bohrer
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2016 10:34pm
  • News

JUNEAU — Alaska’s two U.S. senators resigned leadership posts in the state Republican party after denouncing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and saying he should step aside.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan voluntarily resigned over the weekend as honorary members of the party’s state central committee, Murkowski campaign spokesman Robert Dillon said Tuesday.

Party officers are expected to back party candidates. Last month, several GOP officers resigned their posts to publicly back Republican-turned-Libertarian Joe Miller in his challenge to Murkowski in this fall’s Senate race.

State GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock said Murkowski and Sullivan held their party leadership posts by virtue of holding elected office and would have those positions restored after the election.

On Saturday, after a 2005 video surfaced in which Trump made lewd comments about women, Murkowski said Trump had “forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee.”

She had not previously endorsed Trump.

Sullivan, who had backed Trump, withdrew his support and said he would support Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for president.

Babcock said the state GOP remains committed to Murkowski as the party nominee in her re-election bid. The state party also remains behind Trump, he said.

When asked his reaction to Trump’s video, Miller pointed to a Facebook post he’d written saying he found Trump’s comments about women reprehensible but takes him at his word that he is “repentant.”

He called Murkowski’s position on Trump “a little curious” because Trump is the Republican nominee but said this isn’t the first time Murkowski hasn’t supported a GOP nominee, an apparent jab at her refusal to support Miller’s 2010 Senate campaign after he beat her in the GOP primary that year. She went on to win with a general election write-in campaign.

Pollster Ivan Moore said Murkowski faced less of a dilemma in taking a stance against Trump than other GOP candidates because she draws support across the political spectrum. But he said some Trump supporters might see that as the “final straw” from Murkowski and vote for Miller. One of the criticisms that Murkowski has faced is that she is not conservative enough or is a Republican in name only.

Moore believes Murkowski holds the edge in a race that also includes Democrat Ray Metcalfe and independent Margaret Stock. Murkowski on Tuesday reported that she had raised $415,000 between July 28 and Sept. 30 and had nearly $1.6 million on hand. The other candidates had not yet released their latest fundraising details.

Metcalfe said he will support his party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, though isn’t enthusiastic about it. Independent Margaret Stock hasn’t said who she will support.

All this comes as the Senate candidates prepare for their first general election debate Wednesday night in Kodiak. They’ll be debating without Miller, who will be in Sitka, Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said.

Miller’s campaign has taken issue with some of the forums in which Murkowski has agreed to participate, seeing them as friendly to Murkowski. DeSoto said Miller has committed to four debates or forums, two of which Murkowski also plans to attend.

“I think this puts to rest the accusation that Sen. Murkowski is avoiding debates,” said Dillon, Murkowski’s spokesman.

More in News

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Aging school on the brink

Renovations are cost prohibitive at Soldotna Elementary

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, delivers a speech on the U.S. House floor before Thursday’s vote approving her first bill, establishing an Office of Food Security in the Department of Veterans Affairs. It passed the House by a 376-49 vote, although its fate in the Senate is undetermined. (Screenshot from official U.S. House video)
Poll: Peltola’s a popular pol

Food for vets bill passes House, pollster says she is “the most popular figure in Alaska right now.”

A parking sign awaits the new executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund at its Juneau headquarters, Three finalists will be interviewed for the job during a public meeting Monday by the fund’s board of trustees, who are expected to deliberate and announce the new director immediately afterward. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Interviews, selection of new Permanent Fund CEO set for Monday

Three finalists seeking to manage $73.7B fund to appear before trustees at public meeting in Juneau

Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Split siding at SoHi

The damage has been given patchwork treatment over the years

Most Read