An unusual campaign narrative is developing in Alaska: incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski is going head-to-head with a proxy for her competitor rather than the man himself.
It's unlikely that the previously unknown Joe Miller could have stolen the Republican nomination out from under Murkowski without the help of Tea Party Express, a California-based group that has helped orchestrate some of the season's biggest primary upsets. After the group announced it would be a key presence in the general election campaign (it said yesterday that it would spend "six figures" to defeat the sitting senator), Murkowski has gone negative on it with the zeal many think she should have channeled into her primary against Miller.
The video below, released on YouTube by Murkowski's campaign,* mentions Miller only in a reference to Tea Party Express's spending on his primary campaign. Everyday-looking Alaskans express outrage that an outside group is gunning for "our seat." "Well, whose Senate seat would it be, Alaska's or California's?" asks one woman indignantly.
And yesterday, Murkowski's campaign went even further, sending a letter to Alaska TV networks asking/warning them not to air ads from Tea Party Express. Murkowski's attorney claims that the group's ads are "littered with lies and intentional mischaracterizations" and that the networks have a "legal and moral obligation" not to air them. According to Steve Wackowski, Murkowski's spokesman, the campaign has not heard back from the networks, but the ad in question has not yet run.