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

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read