Wednesday, 01 September 2010

Murkowski Concedes to Miller in Alaska's GOP Primary

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After a tumultuous indecisive primary election and a week of bitter disputes, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski finally conceded the GOP Senate primary victory to Tea Party candidate Joe Miller. The Washington Post called Joe Miller’s surprising victory the “biggest upset in the 2010 cycle to date.”

In her concession speech, Murkowski indicated, “I don’t see a scenario in which the primary will turn out in my favor.”

On August 24, with all precincts reported, Miller edged out incumbent Murkowski by 1,700 votes, prompting Alaska’s Board of Elections to count the 15,000 absentee ballots to determine the winner. After all absentee ballots were counted, Miller proved to be the victory by 1,630 votes.

Miller was a dark-horse candidate, seemingly benign and therefore largely ignored by Murkowski until it became too late. Likewise, Miller’s endorsement by Tea Party favorite and Alaska’s former Governor Sarah Palin proved to be the nail in the coffin for Murkowski, who attempted to rest on her family’s political history as a means to coast to reelection.

As it became clear that the election results were extremely close, political ambitions morphed into bitterness. According to The Examiner, “Things turned ugly in recent days with Miller accusing Murkowski of vote tampering, and Murkowski saying that Miller was inexperienced and paranoid.”

Miller voiced fears that Murkowski would “pull an Al Franken,” alluding to the possibility that Murkowski would pursue a lengthy legal battle like that launched by Al Franken in the 2008 election against incumbent Norm Coleman. Fortunately for Miller and the state of Alaska, Miller’s fears did not materialize, sparing Alaska’s citizens from a protracted and harmful legal battle, similar to that of Minnesota.

Additionally, Miller articulated concerns that Murkowski would consider remaining in the Senate race under the Libertarian ticket, but those fears were quickly quelled by Alaska’s Libertarian Party, which made clear their decision to reject Murkowski as a candidate. Alaska’s Libertarian Party chairman Scott Kohlhaas explained, “Murkowski does not reflect the values of the party.”

Despite the nature of the past week, Miller encourages Republican Alaskans to come together and prepare for November 2, when he will face off against Sitka’s Democratic Mayor Scott McAdams. “Now is the time for all Alaskans to come together and reach out with our core message of taking power from the federal government and bringing it back home to the people. If we continue to allow the federal government to live beyond its means, we will all soon have to live below ours.”

McAdams has not missed the opportunity to seize upon the fissure in Alaska’s Republican Party to perhaps advance his own campaign. In a statement given last night, McAdams remarked, “Lisa Murkowski is a class act who always put Alaska first. By contrast, lawyer Joe Miller ran an unfair, nasty campaign that didn’t extend to Lisa Murkowski the respect she deserves.”

Still, Miller’s anti-establishment position could prove to be helpful in November, as he touts the very ideals that seem to be embraced by the American public at this time.

“The government is going bankrupt. I think the answer to this is to basically transfer the responsibilities and power of government back to the states and the people,” Miller contends.

Likewise, a recent poll by Rasmussen, which indicates that voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 of the polled issues, does not bode well for McAdams.

Furthermore, on August 29, a Public Policy Polling poll showed Miller ahead of McAdams, 47 percent to 39 percent.

For these reasons, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has indicated that the Democrats’ campaign committee will aid McAdams, recognizing the competitive race on which McAdams is about to embark, reports Yahoo News.

Photo of Joe Miller: AP Images

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