Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said she would welcome a write-in ballot bid by Senator Lisa Murkowski, while predicting it would be a “futile” effort.
“Joe Miller is going to win the general,” Palin said in a brief interview after she unexpectedly appeared at a Sept. 11 commemoration in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. “It seems like it’s a futile effort, there, for a write-in effort, but she certainly has that right to do so.”
Murkowski, in one of the biggest upsets so far this U.S. election year, was defeated in a primary by Miller, who had the backing of Palin and the Tea Party movement.
Murkowski, 53, the Senate’s No. 4 Republican, conceded the race Aug. 31 after absentee ballot-counting failed to reverse Miller’s lead of more than 1,600 votes.
John Bitney, Murkowski’s campaign manager, declined to say when she would decide whether to pursue a write-in candidacy. He said she has received “a lot of encouragement” from “a broad spectrum of people from across the entire state” to run.
“I love competition in business and sports and politics,” Palin said. “It’s all good.”
Palin, 46, dismissed the notion that Murkowski could draw votes away from Miller, should she enter a race that also includes Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka, Alaska.
“I do not believe so,” Palin said. “I believe that Joe Miller is going to solidify more and more support as the days go on, as more and more people know him, not just his resume and his record, but what motivates him and his intentions for this state and for our country.”
Palin is scheduled to appear later today in Anchorage with Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.
The Anchorage event is happening two weeks after Beck and Palin appeared together at the “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall in Washington, where they urged hundreds of thousands gathered to embrace traditional American values.
The rally, on Aug. 28, was held on the 47th anniversary and on the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The timing drew criticism from civil rights leaders, although Beck said it was a coincidence the event was held on that date.
Beck and Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and now a contributor to News Corp.’s Fox News, are both stars of the Tea Party movement, a loose-knit coalition of voters seeking limits on government spending, taxes and debt.