Politico, a D.C. based publication, isn’t above overplaying narrative tension. However, a piece today about the increasing strain between Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich as Begich’s reelection campaign begins to heat up, appears to be understated, if anything, I’ve heard.
To set up the story, Murkowski is quoted as saying that she wants a “Republican partner,” and that Begich, according to her “needs to run on his record — and not mine.”
Politico recounts a recent instance where she requested her name be removed from a Begich press release related to birth control. They voted together on it, but she said that Begich mischaracterized her vote.
She also pushed back on a Begich radio ad that cites their work together, and his claim that they vote together 80 percent of the time.
The cause? For one, Murkowski hasn’t forgotten that Begich stumped hard for Democratic Senate candidate Scott McAdams in 2010. Secondly, and more importantly, both she and Alaska have a lot to gain and a lot to lose in the upcoming race, which could decide which party controls the Senate.
If the Senate doesn’t flip, Murkowski loses her ranking status on Energy, but if it does flip she would be chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a huge assignment for an energy state. Secondly, she’d run the powerful appropriations subcommittee, which has control over the Interior Department’s checkbook.
The final quote in the story likely won’t heal the rift. Begich says that the two voted together more than is normal for a delegation with members on the opposite side of the aisle. And he says that it’s not because he’s becoming more Republican, but that she is “coming closer and closer to my view on issues.”
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org