Sen. Lisa Murkowsi quits Republican leadership position but keeps committee post

Wednesday, September 22, 2010; 11:31 PM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) will remain the top Republican on the energy committee, even as she runs for reelection as a write-in candidate this November against the GOP's nominee.

In a 20-minute meeting Wednesday, Senate Republicans accepted Murkowski's resignation from the caucus's leadership. Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) succeeded her as vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

But the caucus did not remove her from the ranking GOP position on the energy panel. Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), chairman of the conference, did not explain the decision afterward.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as the panel is formally known, won't be holding any substantive hearings for the remainder of the year.

Murkowski was campaigning in Alaska and did not attend the meeting.

Republican leaders have voiced strong displeasure with her decision to run as a write-in after she lost the primary last month to her conservative challenger, Joe Miller.

- Paul Kane

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