AK Senate: Murkowski running as a write-in

Despite losing in the Republican primary to Joe Miller, tea party backed candidate, and failing to convince the Alaska Libertarian Party to allow her be substituted on the ballot, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has opted to run in November as a write-in candidate:

Saying voters need “one Republican woman who won’t quit on Alaska,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Friday evening that she would wage a write-in campaign to retain her seat.

Murkowski, who was unexpectedly defeated in her Republican primary last month, made her announcement in Anchorage to the chants of supporters yelling, “Run, Lisa, Run.”

“I announce today that I will be a write-in candidate in November for the United States Senate seat that I now hold,” Murkowski told supporters.

Murkowski’s announcement carries enormous repercussions for the Senate race and even on Capitol Hill. Not only does her candidacy dramatically alter the race, but Murkowski also immediately resigned from her leadership role as Senate Republican Conference vice chairwoman, and may also face loss of her seniority and her position as ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear that her fellow Republican senators were rallying around the party’s nominee, Joe Miller.

DE Senate: Republicans to decide on nominee today

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Republican primary in Delaware has been nothing short of brutal, and Democrats are loving it. Rep. Mike Castle, generally cast as a liberal Republican, is backed by the state party, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and has been considered the favorite to win until this week when Christine O’Donnell began to surge in the polls.

O’Donnell has received support from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, both of whom contributed to the defeat of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, who lost to Joe Miller in a primary race that shocked the political establishment. All are hitting Castle for supporting bailouts, declining to support an repeal of ObamaCare and voting for cap-and-trade.

GOP moderates fear tea party shake-up in Senate

With the prospect of five tea party candidates in the Senate Republican Caucus in 2011, some Republicans are making their feelings about the candidates known:

As it stands, many consider the right flank in the Senate to consist of Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and David Vitter of Louisiana. But if Republicans  have a great day on Nov. 2, they could be adding Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Alaska’s Joe Miller, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Colorado’s Ken Buck, Utah’s Mike Lee, Florida’s Marco Rubio, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey to their ranks – and potentially others.

Many of the conservative firebrands in the group are affiliated with the Tea Party. They’re all outsiders, many of whom defeated the GOP establishment candidate in their primary elections. Let’s just say it won’t be sleepy in the Senate come 2011.

“The GOP Senate caucus will be the most conservative since at least World War II,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

For conservatives, that sounds pretty good. Some imagine the strengthened numbers of conservatives will form a pivotal block that will move the entire body to the right.

“That’d be good for the Party, more DeMints, more Coburns,” said one conservative GOP operative to The Daily Caller.

But for Republican moderates, the Rand Pauls and Sharron Angles of the world are disconcerting. Some express fear that what they perceive as the candidates’ “radical” views will prove a political liability for the Republican Party.

Angle is “just out of sight with her crazy claims,” said former New York Republican Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a moderate who now works to push the GOP leftward on environmental issues.

AK Senate: Miller defeats Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has conceded defeat to Joe Miller, a tea party candidate who literally came out of nowhere to shock the political establishment, by 1,630 votes

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

Murkowski made the concession speech Tuesday night, a full week after the primary.

Murkowski trailed Miller, a Fairbanks attorney, by 1,668 votes after last week’s primary. Election officials began counting absentee and outstanding ballots Tuesday. Murkowski made slight gains, but was never able to get Miller’s lead below 1,200 votes.

“We took the high road,” Murkowski said in her concession speech about not going negative on Miller. “I’m coming back home. You all know my heart and soul has always been in Alaska.”

It was tough to tell what was going to happen yesterday afternoon. Early results looked good for Miller especially since absentees had come in early on were from Anchorage, which were favorable to Murkowski.

It doesn’t look like Murkowski is going to pursue a candidacy for November. Her only real option was as a write-in, which was not viable.

According to FEC reports, Miller only raised $179,553 during the course of his campaign, not including a $103,000 loan to himself. While Murkowski raised well over $2.7 million. However, she was sitting on well over $1 million on the day of the primary, opting not to go negative on Miller or air a closing ad.

Tea party candidate may knock off GOP incumbent

It appears that Sen. Lisa Murkowski may lose a primary challenge to Joe Miller by 1,492 votes (though that total may change as two precincts are outstanding):

Just when you thought it was safe for incumbents to go back in the polling booth, along come Tuesday’s Republican primaries. GOP Members of Congress who think they can return to business as usual if they regain the majority should pay attention.

The biggest shock came in Alaska, with incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski trailing unheralded challenger Joe Miller by roughly 2,000 votes with as many as 16,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. As a West Point grad, decorated Gulf War veteran and federal magistrate, Mr. Miller is no lightweight. But he was facing one of Alaska’s great family names, part of the GOP establishment that has dominated the state since it joined the union.

Though heavily outspent, Mr. Miller was helped by former Governor Sarah Palin’s endorsement and especially by Ms. Murkowski’s failure to understand the anti-Washington mood. When he asked Senator Murkowski in a debate which part of the Constitution permitted Roe v. Wade and bank bailouts, she responded that the nation might suffer if the government only funded things explicitly authorized by the Constitution. Bad answer.

Ms. Murkowski opposed ObamaCare but Alaskans punished her for her 2009 refusal to rule out a government-run health-care plan. She is learning the lesson that ousted Utah Senator Bob Bennett did: GOP voters don’t want their representatives to negotiate with President Obama. They’re looking for people who can defeat his agenda.

Tea Party Express targets GOP Senator

The Tea Party Express is targeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Republican primary, backing Joe Miller, a lawyer from Fairbanks:

The Tea Party Express endorsed on Wednesday a little known Alaska candidate in a bid to oust an incumbent Republican senator who is part of the Senate GOP leadership.

The group is backing Joe Miller in Alaska’s Republican senate primary. In a statement, the Tea Party Express “vows to defeat” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
“The Tea Party Express will make Miller’s campaign its top priority between now and the August 24th Alaska Primary, and will devote the resources necessary to ensure Miller’s victory,” the group said in a statement.

Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell told CNN that those resources will include the people and money necessary to help Miller, a Fairbanks lawyer with little name identity in Alaska, topple the popular Murkowski. That campaign will also include television and radio ads and possibly, the group says, a Tea Party Express bus tour across Alaska.
“Lisa Murkowski has become part of the problem in Washington,” Tea Party Express Political Director Bryan Shroyer said in the group’s statement. “Her support for record deficit spending, and her flip-flopping on whether to repeal Obamacare are just two of the many issues in which she has broken trust with the citizens she was elected to represent.”

Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska, has also endorsed Miller, calling him a “true commonsense constitutional conservative.”

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