Palin to raise money for Murkowski's re-election

Senator's 2004 campaign raised almost $5.5 million; 2010 goal would be to match that and raise more

Posted: Thursday, April 09, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to raise money for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's re-election campaign in a move that Palin's camp says should end speculation the governor is eyeing the senator's seat.

Palin will hold at least one fundraiser for Murkowski, and possibly more, said Meghan Stapleton, spokeswoman for SarahPAC, the governor's political action committee.

Palin's term also is up next year, but the Republican governor hasn't announced yet if she'll seek re-election.

Stapleton said the announcement should end rumors that Palin - who was catapulted onto the national political scene when GOP presidential candidate John McCain picked her as his running mate - is after Murkowski's seat in the Senate.

"The governor has never had any intention, not even a thought, of running for the senator's seat," Stapleton said.

"I think it was just another sexy story for the media," she said.

Murkowski also hasn't announced formally she will seek re-election but is raising campaign funds. Palin wants to show her support for Murkowski by holding a fundraiser, Stapleton said.

"She does feel the senator is doing a fantastic job for Alaska," she said.

Mary K. Hughes, chief administrative officer for the Murkowski campaign, said Wednesday that details of the fundraiser have yet to be worked out. Stapleton said that likely will have to wait until the end of the legislative session on April 19.

"We are very pleased that the governor is assisting Sen. Murkowski," Hughes said.

Hughes said when Murkowski last ran in 2004, the campaign raised almost $5.5 million. The goal would be to match that and raise more for 2010, she said.

"It doesn't get cheaper," Hughes said, of running a campaign.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, is still in her first full term as Alaska's senior senator but has seen her own political star on the rise. Just like Alaska's former senior senator, Ted Stevens, Murkowski has a seat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, the same committee where Stevens steered billions of dollars in federal money to his home state.

Murkowski also is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the only woman on the Senate GOP's leadership team.

Murkowski was appointed to her Senate seat by her father, former Sen. Frank Murkowski, when he became governor. Lisa Murkowski won a full term in 2004.

Her father was ousted out of office by Palin in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary, leading some to also wonder if there wasn't a family rivalry between the two women, something both have denied.

In fact, in December they co-authored a newspaper opinion column titled, "We're not rivals; we're in partnership for Alaska."

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