Palin backs Murkowski opponent in Senate GOP primary

Sean Cockerham | Tribune Media Services

Sarah Palin is endorsing Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller to beat U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, saying she considers Murkowski part of the problem in Washington.

"Unfortunately, Lisa Murkowski and much of the political establishment have recently evolved into being a bigger part of the big government problem in Washington, and they've strayed from the principles upon which they had espoused," Palin wrote Wednesday on her Facebook page.

Miller is running against Murkowski in the Aug. 24 Republican primary. Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, has already attended a fundraiser for Miller.

The former governor wrote Miller is a "true Commonsense Constitutional Conservative" and reformer who more closely shares Alaskans' values than does Murkowski.

SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee, donated $5,000 to Murkowski's re-election campaign last June. But Murkowski subsequently criticized the use of the term "death panels" that was popularized by Palin during the health care debate, saying it wasn't accurate. Murkowski also was highly critical of Palin's decision to resign from the governor's office last July.

Palin wrote on her Facebook page that "though the media has tried to portray some sort of feud or bad blood between Lisa and myself," such is not the case. She also said her PAC's contribution to Murkowski was about squashing rumors that she might run against Murkowski herself.