12/02/2011 03:34 pm ET

Lisa Murkowski Endorses Mitt Romney

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) for president on Friday. Both Romney and Murkowski have largely kept the Tea Party at arm's length.

"Whether it was his ability to turn around the Massachusetts economy or turn around businesses in the private sector, Mitt Romney has demonstrated the leadership that we need in the White House to get the country on the right track," she said in a press release. "He has also laid out a plan to get our country on the path toward energy independence. Mitt Romney understands the importance of Alaska as a leader in our country's energy production and I look forward to working with him on such an important economic and national security matter."

Murkowski won her 2010 reelection in a write-in bid after losing the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller. She was the first U.S. Senate candidate since 1954 to win a write-in bid.

Since winning re-election, Murkowski has taken a moderate path in the Senate, voting with Democrats and a few Republicans for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the pro-immigrant Dream Act and to ratify the new START agreement with Russia.

Earlier this week, Romney picked up the endorsements of Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) all of whom support the Dream Act.