Almost in the books as an upset, but not quite. With 98% of precincts reporting in Joe Miller holds a 51% to 49% edge over incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski. This was a race where Miller trailed in the polls, and political analysts predicted a victory by Murkowski. One factor was the endorsement of Miller by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who in a story reported by Anchorage Daily News is getting credit from one camp and blame from the other:
Miller credited the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his lead.
"I’m absolutely certain that was pivotal," he said.
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.
Palin was a factor, but not the only factor as the Tea Party Express paid for advertising which helped boost his name ID. I’m sure that Murkowski’s dismal debate performance had something to do with it as well. To address Murkowski’s comment, Governor Palin is helping out Alaska by helping to send a true conservative to Washington. But *obviously* Alaska’s best interest means sending Murkowski back to Washington, silly me.
As the night grew on ADN reports that the Miller camp was celebrating, and the Murkowski camp was not which leads me to believe that they know the result won’t likely change based on the precincts that still have yet to report.
Most of the precincts that hadn’t reported were in rural areas, particularly Western Alaska including the regions around Bethel, Nome and Kotzebue, where paper ballots are counted by hand. Counting was to continue through the night, according to the Division of Elections. There were also some precincts yet to report in the Dillingham-Aleutians region and the university area of Fairbanks. But all those of tend to be Democratic-leaning areas where many independent voters might choose the Democratic primary ballot. Those who are registered Democrats aren’t allowed to vote in the Republican primary so can’t have a say in the Miller-Murkowski race.
The Cook Political Report lists Alaska’s Senate seat to be a solid Republican one, they just didn’t predict which Republican. Will that change with a Murkowski defeat? With the current political environment I just don’t see the Democrat candidate, Scott McAdams, pulling that off.