- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Murkowski trails ‘tea party’ foe in Alaska
Joe Miller ahead in Senate race
Question of the Day
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski trails a “tea party”-backed challenger by a slim margin in the state’s Republican primary held on Tuesday that’s still too close to call.
If the results hold, Mrs. Murkowski would join a growing list of Republican Party insiders who have fallen to political upstarts in primary elections in a year that has featured an unusually high level of GOP infighting.
“It was really her race to lose, and she’s almost lost it,” said University of Alaska at Fairbanks political science professor Jerry McBeath. “It’s going to be very difficult for her to come through.”
With 98 percent of precincts counted, Mrs. Murkowski trailed Joe Miller, a Fairbanks lawyer, by 1,960 votes out of more than 91,000 counted. As many as 16,000 absentee votes, as well as an undetermined number of provisional or questioned ballots, remain to be counted.
It could be a week or more before the final results of the race are known, as the state Division of Elections said it received about 7,600 absentee-type ballots by Monday.
“Lisa Murkowski didn’t put together a [campaign] package that was compelling,” he said. “She is, after all, the incumbent and has done good service for the state in the eight years she had been in office, and she didn’t effectively advertise that to the voters.”
Mrs. Murkowski faced a series of campaign obstacles, that, while potentially not fatal individually, collectively may have derailed her political career.
Mrs. Palin’s backing led the California-based Tea Party Express organization to reportedly spend more than $500,000 on behalf of Mr. Miller with advertisements that portrayed Mrs. Murkowski as a liberal who too often aligned herself with Democrats.
Tensions between the Murkowski and Palin families date to at least 2006, when Mrs. Palin trounced Mrs. Murkowski’s father, Frank, in the 2006 gubernatorial primary that launched her national political career.
An anti-abortion-related referendum on the Alaska ballot also may have hurt Mrs. Murkowski, who generally supports abortion rights. “Proposition 2,” which easily passed, calls for parents to be notified before their daughters age 17 and younger receive an abortion.
“The Prop 2 supporters were our supporters, largely,” said Mr. Miller on Tuesday night, according to the Anchorage Daily News. “Frankly, I think the pro-life vote was important.”
Another re-election challenge was some voters’ lingering resentment to Mrs. Murkowski’s appointment to the Senate in 2002 by her father, who had vacated the seat to become governor, experts say.
Mrs. Murkowski, who had been significantly ahead in the polls this year, was accused by some of not taking her challenger seriously enough.
“He was a credible opponent from the minute he filed, and if you want to stay in office, if you want to survive, then you have to take that extremely seriously,” Mr. McBeath said. “That’s the only thing you think about doing. She didn’t.”
Mrs. Murkowski wasn’t the only Republican establishment candidate to struggle in Tuesday’s primaries nationwide, as multimillionaire health care executive Rick Scott edged Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to win the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary.
Mr. Scott used a campaign tactic employed successfully by other outsider, tea party-backed candidates fighting establishment Republicans this year in intraparty contests; accuse your opponent of being a party insider who has abandoned true conservative values.
“You have the opportunity to vote for a principled, conservative outsider with a track record of creating jobs or a flip-flopping career politician,” said Mr. Scott in an e-mail to supporters earlier this month.
“Republicans know what is at stake and will rally in support of Rick Scott as the campaign for governor moves forward,” said Florida Republican Party National Committeeman Paul Senft. “He has good, new and fresh ideas that will help the state of Florida during these difficult budget times.”
Republican Sen. Robert F. Bennett of Utah also was shown the door by party voters in April by denying him a spot on the party’s primary ballot.
Mr. Bennett, like many other incumbents, faced a general anti-Washington backlash. His support of the Wall Street bailout in 2008 further disenfranchised him from many party faithful.
Republican Reps. Parker Griffith of Alabama and Bob Inglis of South Carolina also have failed in their primary bids this year.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- KUHNER: Who betrayed Navy SEAL Team 6?
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!