Palin would crush Daddy’s Little Girl in a primary. Remember, Lisa Murkowski was appointed to the seat by her father when he was elected to his ill-fated term as governor. Palin’s successful primary challenge to father Murkowski was aided in great part by the backlash to that nepotism. The voters passed a ballot initiative stripping the governor of the power to make such appointments in the future. So given a credible Republican challenger, Murkowski melts.
Since Palin vanquished Murkowski’s father, there would be some poetry to also taking out his daughter, but I suspect Murkowski would be vulnerable to other top Republicans. I’d guess at this point that even if Palin passes on the Senate, Murkowski will have to fight for her party’s nomination.
She wins in a waltz in the general election too, of course. I’ve made the case before why, contrary to popular wisdom, it could be a good move for her, but it makes more sense if she’s planning to skip the presidential race in 2012 and build her national cred for a run four years later instead of trying to bounce from governor to Senator to president in the span of two years. Surprisingly enough, we haven’t polled this one yet. Have at it.