In the midst of an op-ed declaring the Tea Party and the Republican Party to be on the same side of things, Mississippi Gov. (and Republican Governors Association chairman) Haley Barbour drops these lines about Sen. Lisa Murkowski:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost the GOP primary in Alaska to Joe Miller. Now she's launched a write-in campaign to get re-elected. There is no excuse for this campaign, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was right to demand her resignation from the GOP leadership.
We don't have loyalty oaths in our party, so rank-and-file GOP voters aren't obligated to vote for the primary winner. We hope they will. But it is an obligation of party leaders and candidates who participate in our primaries to accept their outcomes.
Murkowski lost her race in a surprise upset that seemed to damage Republican's chances in Alaska's 2010 Senate race, though it's unclear how much. (According to Rasmussen, Miller would still beat Democratic Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams.) Now, she's launched a write-in campaign that potentially will damage Republicans much more, by splitting the GOP vote and delivering the seat to McAdams. The obvious excuse for doing so is that she still wants to be a senator.
If Barbour is trying to cozy up to both establishment Republicans and Tea Partiers in his op-ed, then his critique of Murkowski fits well within that paradigm, because her write-in bid has angered them both, and criticizing it endears Barbour to both factions within the broader Republican coalition.
Once you lose a primary to a Tea Partier, it appears all sides are against you.
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is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic
and a reporter for The Hill