FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Federation of Natives voted to endorse Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign Thursday, prompting a renewed attack from her Republican rival.
Senate-race politics figured large on the opening day of the three-day AFN convention, with all three candidates looking to score blows in the final two weeks of the election.
Murkowski's campaign co-chairman, Byron Mallott, introduced her in a fiery speech that blasted Republican candidate Joe Miller's criticism of a controversial program that gives no-bid federal contracts to Native corporations and tribes.
Alaska Native corporations have "placed our billions in this state," said Mallott, board member for Sealaska Corp. As for any candidate for statewide office who calls those institutions a special interest, "I will have nothing to do with him."
Miller's campaign has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission saying a political action committee composed of Alaska Native corporations is a "PR front group" for Murkowski. The group, Alaskans Standing Together, says that it's operating within the law and Miller is trying to "handcuff the Alaska Native community from having a voice in this campaign."
On Thursday, Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said it was no surprise Murkowski won a nod from AFN.
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