Upset in Alaska?

posted at 8:35 am on August 25, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If the Republican primary for US Senate in Alaska became an extension of the battle between the Murkowskis and Sarah Palin, it looks as though the underdog may have won again.  Palin-endorsed challenger Joe Miller was not given much of a chance of victory against incumbent Lisa Murkowski before yesterday’s vote, but this morning Miller has a three-point lead with 77% of precincts reporting.  Murkowski can still pull out a win, but the mathematics are getting increasingly difficult:

In what could become one of the biggest political upsets of the year, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski trailed her tea party-backed opponent by a small margin Wednesday in Alaska’s GOP primary with thousands of votes yet to be counted.

Attorney Joe Miller, who also had the backing of former Gov. Sarah Palin, led Murkowski by less than four points with 77 percent of precincts reporting and thousands of absentee ballots not yet added to the tally from Tuesday’s vote.

If Murkowski loses, she would become the third senator this year to be ousted by a primary challenger. Her defeat would also be one of the most stunning losses in the state’s short 51-year history and a sure sign that Palin’s endorsement still carries weight with voters in Alaska.

Not a single public poll showed Miller within striking distance of Murkowski in the weeks before the primary, and she spent more than ten times as much as he spent. However, a ballot measure requiring parental notifications for teens seeking an abortion boosted Miller by driving tens of thousands of voters to the polls in an otherwise low-turnout primary.

When Shira Toeplitz notes that no poll predicted this outcome, it’s not an exaggeration.  Palin’s endorsement of Miller was seen as a long shot, as well as another volley in a years-long political feud between Palin and the Murkowskis.  Few people gave the endorsement much chance of changing the status quo, especially since Murkowski didn’t have a record that produced anywhere near as much ire among conservatives as Palin’s former running mate John McCain — who won his primary by 30 points.

If Miller wins this race, it’s a testament to the power of Palin in Alaska and the energy of the Tea Party.  It may also be a warning to pollsters to start making some adjustments to likely-voter models in the days ahead.  We’ll keep an eye on the outcome of this race today.

Update: According to ADN at 8:21 ET, Miller leads Murkowski 51.09% to 48.91%, with 429 out of 438 precincts reporting.  He still has to win absentee ballots or keep the margin small enough to prevail.   Murkowski blames Palin:

Murkowski on Tuesday night took a shot at Palin, saying that when Palin resigned as governor last summer she said she would use her new national role to help out Alaska.

“I think she’s out for her own self-interest. I don’t think she’s out for Alaska’s interest,” Murkowski said as she waited at her campaign headquarters for results to come in.

Update II: From the same article, this looks like it could be a while before a winner is declared:

The final results of the race won’t be known for over a week. The Alaska Division of Elections said over 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and as of Monday night 7,600 had been returned. The first count of absentees will be next Tuesday and there will be two subsequent counts as the absentee votes trickle in on Sept. 3 and on Sept. 8.

That two-point difference amounts to just under 2,000 votes.  Assuming that lead holds up, Murkowski would have to win 4800 of the absentees, or about 63%, in order to make up the difference.  That’s a tall order, even if Miller’s surge came late.

Update III: Via commenter the_nile, Slate may have to do a little egg-wiping from its face today:

On Tuesday, in her home state, Sarah Palin’s favorite will probably get trounced. Joe Miller is widely expected to lose by a large margin to incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary—an embarrassing defeat for the former governor, who has endorsed Miller, but also to Miller’s other major backer, the Tea Party Express.

Miller was a virtual unknown when he announced his Senate candidacy in April. But his big political debut came in June when both Palin and the Tea Party Express endorsed him. Miller sounds like he came out of some kind of Tea Party laboratory, with degrees from West Point and the University of Alaska, a Bronze Star from fighting in the Gulf War, and “correct” positions on guns, abortion, God, and big government (for, against, for, and against, respectively). Miller even has the right look: With a long, lean face, and stubble closer to 10 o’clock than 5, he could almost pass for Chuck Norris.

Unfortunately for him, not even Chuck Norris in his most bad-ass role—which is, of course, Chuck Norris in real life—could rescue the Miller campaign. Always a long shot, Miller lags behind Murkowski, the heir to one of Alaska’s political dynasties, by double digits.

Not even Chuck Norris could rescue Alexandra Gutierrez from her embarrassing defeat this morning.  It appears that Alaskans actually do care about fiscal responsibility at the federal level, regardless of Gutierrez’ charming display of patronization.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Ahahah…you have got to read that dbag Weigal scrounging to save face for himself and his joke of a “journalist” girlfriend.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/

ClassicCon on August 25, 2010 at 10:42 AM

That’s a whole lot of damage control. lol.

Daemonocracy on August 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM

No one would ever accuse Slate of being out of touch with reality. No sir.

stldave on August 25, 2010 at 2:10 PM

These Republican RINO’s always react like freshly eaten sour grapes.One can only imagine how McCain, the Rino-at-large would have reacted had he lost the AZ primary. The liberal Dems would have a newly inherited crybaby.

mobydutch on August 25, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Sooooo awesome!

ornery_independent on August 25, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Since Alaska has a closed primary, how soon can they check to see how many outstanding absentee ballots went to registered GOP voters?

Wethal on August 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Murkowski ran her mouth about Palin during the Presidential election.
It’s payback time ..payback with a friendly smile.
Gee, Todd and I just love Murkowski to death, ya know. So sorry she lost. Such a shame.

LeeSeneca on August 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Speaking of compromised integrity, check out this article by her at American Prospect for even more pathetically off-base anti-Palin prognostication than her piece in Slate which now makes her look like a drooling at the mouth idiot completely oblivious to her surroundings.

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Good grief – though it is hard to believe – that is even worse than her Slate piece. Alexandra certainly has a mean girl snag on Palin.

katiejane on August 25, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Alexandra Gutierrez is just one more piece of trash on the heap that is Slate.

jaime on August 25, 2010 at 2:48 PM

This blog ride was fun last night. Too bad HotAir was in post-QOTD suspended animation when this story started heating up.

I was at Ace’s and RSMcCain until 4am CDT. Fun!

Did anyone notice something conspicuously missing from this little paragraph bio?

Miller sounds like he came out of some kind of Tea Party laboratory, with degrees from West Point and the University of Alaska, a Bronze Star from fighting in the Gulf War, and “correct” positions on guns, abortion, God, and big government (for, against, for, and against, respectively). Miller even has the right look: With a long, lean face, and stubble closer to 10 o’clock than 5, he could almost pass for Chuck Norris.

If this had been a liberal candidate, that little matter of a *YALE LAW DEGREE* would have been the first thing on the list for you to consider.

I suppose an Ivy League Law degree is only worth mentioning when you are not trying to establish an anti-Tea Party, anti-Palin narrative about a candidate you hope fails.
Yes, they hope he fails. I thought that was horrible!

Also, that degree from the UofAK is a master in economics. No need to mention that either, or else people might get the impression he knows what he’s talking about while bashing Obama’s economic program.

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

One wonders whether Gutierrez took the NPR gig just to spend the next two years watching her spittle freeze in mid-air while ranting about Palin.

Sheesh. She and Andrew Sullivan need adjoining rubber rooms.

JEM on August 25, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

So Miller graduated from West Point, has a Masters in Economics from UofAK, a law degree from Yale and served in the Gulf and he’s dismissed as just another anti-abortion, gun loving Bible thumper and Palin was an idiot for supporting him?

katiejane on August 25, 2010 at 3:08 PM

katiejane on August 25, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Yep. He is also a former Magistrate Judge, so he knows the Constitution from a professional perspective.

No need to talk about such things, it might damage the narrative.

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Well a law degree from Yale, is a strike against him.

Slowburn on August 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Well a law degree from Yale, is a strike against him.

Slowburn on August 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM

No it’s not. It is the ideology of many from the Ivy League that is the problem, not the fact that it is where they went.

That sounds reactionary to me. Listen to the guy talk about the true intent of the Founders and so forth, and it’s clear where he stands. He went to West Point first, so that may have helped prepare him to maintain his views through an institution like Yale Law.

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Well a law degree from Yale, is a strike against him.

Slowburn on August 25, 2010 at 3:12 PM
No it’s not. It is the ideology of many from the Ivy League that is the problem, not the fact that it is where they went.

That sounds reactionary to me. Listen to the guy talk about the true intent of the Founders and so forth, and it’s clear where he stands. He went to West Point first, so that may have helped prepare him to maintain his views through an institution like Yale Law.

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law. He showed what he thought of the place, though, by putting his diploma in a $10 frame.

Wethal on August 25, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Wethal on August 25, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Too funny.
Did not know that.

Brian1972 on August 25, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Geeze Murkowski……..MEOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

There is such a thing as stepping down graciously. So what if Palin gave her endorsement. I’m sure when she did, you thought it meant nothing. Now that it does, you’re being catty, petty, and snipey. Grow up. As far as I’m concerned, that little statement you made just proves you aren’t fit to be a representative of our state, for our country.

I also found it funny. This morning, Huckabee was saying endorsements are often to highly overrated, when asked about Palins endorsement of Miller. Even though a candidate he endorsed, lost.

Proving, even some men can be catty, and petty, and perhaps…a tad jealous?

capejasmine on August 25, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Ivan Moore, an independent pollster based in Anchorage. Moore’s poll in July showed Miller down by 32 points,…And Palin’s endorsement hasn’t helped, Moore adds. According to a Dittman Research poll conducted in April, 52 percent of Alaskans hold a negative opinion of Palin. “When someone with those kinds of numbers endorses someone for public office, believe me, the effect is on the whole negative,” says Moore.

Bwahahahahahaha

“Independant pollster” my arse!
As for believing the jacka$$,
the election again reveals that
the Tea Party and Saracuda mean bidness!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on August 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Ivan Moore, an independent pollster based in Anchorage. Moore’s poll in July showed Miller down by 32 points,…And Palin’s endorsement hasn’t helped, Moore adds. According to a Dittman Research poll conducted in April, 52 percent of Alaskans hold a negative opinion of Palin. “When someone with those kinds of numbers endorses someone for public office, believe me, the effect is on the whole negative,” says Moore.

Bwahahahahahaha

“Independant pollster” my arse!
As for believing the jacka$$,
the election again reveals that
the Tea Party and Saracuda mean bidness!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on August 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Alaskans still love Palin. Who woulda thunk it?

Southernblogger on August 25, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Miller was a virtual unknown when he announced his Senate candidacy in April. But his big political debut came in June when both Palin and the Tea Party Express endorsed him.

And yet Gutierrez in the crow-eating follow-up implies that Palin had little to do with Miller’s showing. But if Miller had lost, it would’ve been an embarrassing defeat for Palin and the TP. These libs are just so fundamentally dishonest it’s breathtaking.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Weeeee! I smell blood and I like it! Can’t wait to see the bloodbath in November. My concern is that the people elected get to work on the tasks at hand pronto. I sure hope that it doesn’t end up being business as usual once they all get in. I want my country back!

ReneePA on August 25, 2010 at 5:13 PM

*swoon*

More Palin, please!!!

RedNewEnglander on August 25, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Fair enough. As I think I’ve said before I see you as objective which I like. As for Palin my criticism of her is driven more by what I think is good for the party as a whole.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Well, there’s your mistake, Bradky. A lot of us don’t give a damn about “party”.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 5:19 PM

David Weigel

I’ll be on the Dylan Ratigan show after 4 p.m. ET, talking primaries. And I’m currently traveling through Florida to get to that appointment and the airport, so blogging may be light for a while.

Translation: ‘C’holly ‘W’rap did we ‘F’ that one up. Sorry but we have to come up with some bizarre talking point as to how we all got this sooooo wrong. seeing as how ‘jurNOlist’ no longer exists, we look kinda stupid and pathetic to have ALL gotten it wrong with he SAME talking points.

DSchoen on August 25, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Okay so let’s examine his Resume:
West Point Grad with HONORS
Honorable service in the 1st Gulf War that earned him a Bronze Star
Yale Law Degree after the war
and then moved to Alaska (roughly 1994)
Univ of Alaska-Masters in Econ
Served simultaneously as both a state and federal judge and the youngest to so ever at the time
Resigned his position on the bench to run for local office in 2004 and then practiced law after he lost.

Hmmmm….sounds like one hell of a guy.

SgtSVJones on August 25, 2010 at 5:29 PM

wow. Joe Miller is a judge, an OIF veteran and a graduate of West Point.

ted c on August 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Indeed. Joe is a class act as well. Very nice man.

He is going to be a powerhouse in D.C.

Last night he was asking how the Moose hunting up there was!

If you have been following him on Teh Twitters, he continually talks about the Constitution and what needs to be done. He’ll be pushing for term limits, balanced budgets, and all of the stuff we need.

Gonna be fun.

gary4205 on August 25, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Gutierrez in the crow-eating follow-up implies that Palin had little to do with Miller’s showing.

Mama Grizzly ManWhy the candidate of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express is losing in Alaska.
By Alexandra Gutierrez

That’s a strange title for the article if Gutierrez thinks Palin has little to do with Miller.

Oh wait Gutierrez didn’t write the title to her article, the editor did.

So what does Gutierrez have to say?

UNALASKA, Alaska,

—On Tuesday, in her home state, Sarah Palin’s favorite will
get trounced” “widely expected to lose” “by a large margin” “an embarrassing defeat
for the former governor
” “Miller’s other major backer, the Tea Party Express

Where is Gutierrez wiggle room for “Palin and the Tea Party” had nothing to do with Millers win?

She would have been grossly wrong is it had been close and Miller lost.

DSchoen on August 25, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Why Joe Miller is doing the unexpected:

1. He’s a good candidate and articulated his stance on issues well.

2. People are sick and tired of political dynasties and squishy RINO’s.

3. The Tea Party got heavily involved.

4. Palin supported Miller.

darwin on August 25, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Well said!

Joe Miller is an exceptional man. That is why so many people like Sarah and the Tea Party put up so much of a fight for him.

He will be an incredible asset in DC.

Sarah helped and the Tea Party (and their money) certainly helped, but it was all because of Joe himself.

gary4205 on August 25, 2010 at 6:29 PM

ABC News just referred to Joe Miller as a “Super Conservative” on their 4:00 pm Pacific Time radio newsbreak.

Of course, I think Joe Miller will be a “Super” candidate.

But what makes me think that ABC did not intend this label to be a compliment?

I sure wish ABC would be more “fair and balanced!”

wren on August 25, 2010 at 7:06 PM

I do hope the Maine Twins are paying attention.

Snowe already has a declared primary challenger (state senator) for 2012.

Wethal on August 25, 2010 at 7:29 PM

wow. Joe Miller is a judge, an OIF veteran and a graduate of West Point.

ted c on August 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Actually wrong Ted

He served in the FIRST Gulf War, (Desert Storm) not the SECOND Gulf War (OIF).

He also holds a Masters in Econ and a Law Degree from Yale, that is how he became a judge in first place.

SgtSVJones on August 25, 2010 at 7:36 PM

“I think she’s out for her own self-interest. I don’t think she’s out for Alaska’s interest,” Murkowski said as she waited at her campaign headquarters for results to come in.

Says the beneficiary of her Daddy’s largesse…

Gohawgs on August 25, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Murky is a catty little Daddys girl and this is “The Murkowski seat”. I bet she is pisssssed!

Good for Alaska…….you rid the political Royalty…..u help us all.

Ruling class…..the peons are upset….taste our nightstick November 2nd!!!

PappyD61 on August 25, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Good for Alaska…….you rid the political Royalty…..u help us all.

Ruling class…..the peons are upset….taste our nightstick November 2nd!!!

PappyD61 on August 25, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Right on Pappy!

wi farmgirl on August 25, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Just thinkin, but if Miller wins the Senate seat in November, immediately starts running for President, with his thin resume, the left will be screaming that he is not qualified to be CIC, he doesn’t have the experience needed…
This guy sounds like the classic over achiever, thank God for Affirmative Action, OOPS!, nevermind. Racist, he must be a racist…

If this guy looks like he is going to D.C., they are already looking for a way to tear him down.

M-14 2go on August 25, 2010 at 9:24 PM

http://vodpod.com/watch/4279914-when-youre-holding-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail

Heeerrrreeee comes the HAAAMMMMEEERRRR!

and the rats look like a nail!

dhunter on August 25, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Well, there’s your mistake, Bradky. A lot of us don’t give a damn about “party”.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Then you are foolish if you really wish to see a more conservative agenda pushed. fortunately i think there are fewer of “you” than there are wiser party members.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Then you are foolish if you really wish to see a more conservative agenda pushed. fortunately i think there are fewer of “you” than there are wiser party members.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM

The Republican party is just a vehicle for pushing a “more conservative agenda”. Your approach is just to get a bunch of people with R’s after their names.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 10:42 PM

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 10:42 PM

If you don’t compromise on some things while holding fast on others you won’t win many majorities or elections. Reagan understood this — not sure why you don’t get it.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 10:57 PM

If you don’t compromise on some things while holding fast on others you won’t win many majorities or elections. Reagan understood this — not sure why you don’t get it.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Over-readiness to compromise for its own sake gives us Doles and McCains. Not sure why you don’t quite get THAT.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 11:02 PM

I get this vision of a wisp of smoke being released from a freshly cracked breach of a 600 nitro elephant gun.

Then Sarah guides another two cartridges into the barrels and jacks it shut

it’s rino season

Sonosam on August 25, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Over-readiness to compromise for its own sake gives us Doles and McCains. Not sure why you don’t quite get THAT.

ddrintn on August 25, 2010 at 11:02 PM

If you don’t have moderates then you will never get bi-partisan support. McCain has a 85% lifetime conservative rating and that is not enough?
Take Scott Brown – how long before you start condemning him as a squish or RINO? You have to look at the state the senators or representatives come from. McCain wins the primary with 70% of the vote and is roundly condemned by many of the purists. When Murkowski is on the cusp of a loss the knee jerk reaction is to lash out at her looks, father, and a variety of other things. What are you telling the people that voted for her? Is that really the best way to unify? What sort of sense does that make?
Do you really expect that kind of behavior will cause people to fall behind someone like Palin whom you like?
“I know I’m considered a lower class of person for my moderate views and my opinions count for nothing but hey I’ll support whoever the conservative purists tell me to.”

Not every candidate is going to be someone everyone likes but if Reagan’s 11th commandment were adhered to party unity would make the GOP a dominant force.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 11:16 PM

ABC News just referred to Joe Miller as a “Super Conservative” on their 4:00 pm Pacific Time radio newsbreak.

Of course, I think Joe Miller will be a “Super” candidate.

But what makes me think that ABC did not intend this label to be a compliment?

I sure wish ABC would be more “fair and balanced!”

wren on August 25, 2010 at 7:06 PM

ABC is just lettin those folks in Alaska know how to fill out those absentee ballots!

dhunter on August 26, 2010 at 10:11 AM

If you don’t have moderates then you will never get bi-partisan support. McCain has a 85% lifetime conservative rating and that is not enough?

It depends on what McCain was proposing or supporting the other 15% of the time. McCain-Feingold and amnesty? No thanks.

“I know I’m considered a lower class of person for my moderate views and my opinions count for nothing but hey I’ll support whoever the conservative purists tell me to.”

It’s usually conservatives who are in that position. They’re taken for granted by the GOP establishment.

Not every candidate is going to be someone everyone likes but if Reagan’s 11th commandment were adhered to party unity would make the GOP a dominant force.

Bradky on August 25, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Which is something that should be kept in mind when the temptation to bash Palin is great.

ddrintn on August 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM

CAPTION for the Murkowski-Palin pix.

Murkowski: Can she do that? Endorse some guy who defeats me and strip me of my senatorial prerogatives?

Palin: Yeah, you betcha!

SilentWatcher on August 26, 2010 at 10:54 PM

ddrintn on August 26, 2010 at 6:14 PM

You call any criticism or question about Palin bashing and lump all negatives toward her into one bucket. My reservations are legitimate – you just don’t like anyone who doesn’t fawn over her every utterance. So you categorize it all as unfair bashing, haters, etc.
At the same time you talk about Christie’s weight and Jindal’s religion.
Don’t pretend you sit on some moral high ground.

Bradky on August 26, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4