How Murkowski (might have) lost

She was urged by senior leadership at the National Republican Senatorial Committee to go negative on Miller in a meeting two months ago but rejected that advice, insisting that attack ads were not how politics were conducted in Alaska, according to a source familiar with the gathering.

By refusing to define Miller early on in the race, Murkowski gave away her biggest advantage: money. (On Aug. 4, Murkowski reported $1.86 million in her campaign warchest; Miller had just $84,000 in the bank at that time.)

As the votes were being counted, Miller gave full credit for his lead to Palin, the half-term governor of Alaska whose endorsement put him on the national political map. “I’m absolutely certain that was pivotal,” he told the Anchorage Daily News. And, Murkowski, put the blame for her potential loss at the feet of the former governor, saying: “I think she’s out for her own self-interest. I don’t think she’s out for Alaska’s interest.”