Video: Wrist bands may help Murkowski make history

  1. Transcript of: Wrist bands may help Murkowski make history

    MATT LAUER, co-host: Let's go to Alaska . Incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski appears to be on track to become only the second person to win a write-in campaign for the US Senate . NBC 's Kristen Welker sat down with her for an exclusive interview. Kristen , good morning to you.

    KRISTEN WELKER reporting: Good morning to you, Matt. That's right , the last time someone won a Senate seat through a write-in candidacy it was 1954 when Strom Thurmond did it. Well, Lisa Murkowski says she's not quite ready to declare victory yet, but she likes her chances.

    Senator LISA MURKOWSKI: We recognize that we are not yet complete with making history, but we are poised. And it feels -- it feels pretty good.

    WELKER: Republican Lisa Murkowski may have pulled it off, winning back her Senate seat without the support of her own party. She's ready to move forward if she goes back to Washington .

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: I've got to work with people within my own conference that, you know, maybe they haven't -- maybe they haven't been too generous or welcoming in my write-in effort. But I still need to work with them.

    WELKER: Murkowski was stunned this summer when she lost the GOP primary to tea party candidate Joe Miller , who had the backing of the state's former governor, Sarah Palin .

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: Palin gave her endorsement of Miller and that didn't get Miller where he wanted to be.

    WELKER: After losing the primary to Miller , Murkowski decided to run as a write-in candidate. Voters actually had to write her name on the ballot. And to teach people to spell Murkowski , she had to get creative.

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: These wrist bands made history for us.

    WELKER: But the odds were stacked, and Palin made things even tougher.

    Governor SARAH PALIN: I find it shameful that this same person -- let's call her the candidate for the entitlement party, OK? Can't really find a party, not independent, not Republican.

    WELKER: You had commented in a recent debate you would not support her for president. Do you stand by that statement?

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: Yes. Yeah.

    WELKER: Why?

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: I'm looking for somebody that has a breadth of experience, not only within government but just truly more a worldly approach. And I don't think that Sarah Palin has that.

    WELKER: For now, Murkowski 's focusing on the impending ballot count.

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: We have formed a pretty top-notch legal team.

    WELKER: She's also remembering those who stood by her, including the late Senator Ted Stevens , who died this summer in a plane crash.

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: I think Ted Stevens helped to get me where I am today. Ted Stevens was a friend and a mentor and I was blessed to have served with him for six years in the Senate .

    WELKER: With the blessing of the Stevens family days before the election, Murkowski aired a TV commercial she's taped with Stevens before he died.

    Sen. MURKOWSKI: I think Ted is looking down right now and Ted 's smiling proudly at Alaskans.

    WELKER: Now, Murkowski says if she wins she will caucus with the Republicans . Election officials are hoping to start counting those ballots next week. We did reach out to Joe Miller for an interview, but never heard back from his

    representatives. Matt: All right, Kristen Welker out in Alaska for us this morning. Kristen , thank you very much .


updated 11/4/2010 9:21:43 AM ET 2010-11-04T13:21:43

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is confident about her write-in campaign for re-election, saying that while she is "not yet complete with making history," she is "poised and it feels good."

In an interview broadcast Thursday on NBC's "Today," Murkowski criticized former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who rallied for the official GOP Senate nominee, Joe Miller. Murkowski said she would not support a presidential bid by Palin, whom she described as lacking "a worldly approach."

First Read: Early Alaska results look good for Murkowski

Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate after being ousted in the GOP primary by Miller.

As of Wednesday, write-in votes counted for 41 percent of the ballots in Tuesday's election; Miller had 34 percent; and Democrat Scott McAdams had 24 percent. The counting of write-in ballots is scheduled to begin Nov. 10.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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