Alaska looks to be replacing Sen. Murkowski in Republican primary

This will be pretty amazing if things continue the way that they look right now. Murkowski had a huge lead just weeks ago, and then Sarah Palin endorsed Joe Miller. As I recently noted, "Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski Rejects Repealing Obamacare." These are the types of changes that Republicans will have to make if they are going to convince voters that they are serious about repealing Obamacare. From The Hill:

08/25/10 03:41 AM ET
Attorney Joe Miller (R) is leading Sen. Lisa Murkoswki (R-Alaska) in early returns for Alaska's Republican senate nomination.

The race is too close to call and Miller is only up by less 3,000 votes. It could end up in a recount.

Murkowski wasn't initially expected to face a strong challenge in 2010, but Miller's campaign got an early jolt from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express.

The Tea Party Express dropped more than $500,000 running TV and radio ads to aid Miller's campaign. He also had the backing of Palin and of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both rumored presidential contenders in 2012.

Palin, who endorsed Miller in June, recorded a last-minute robocall for the campaign that went out to voters Monday. She did post a fundraising appeal on her Facebook page Monday trumpeting Miller's efforts to raise $30,000 for a late TV buy. She did not campaign with him, but she did tweet early Wednesday morning, before the race was called: “Keeping fingers crossed, powder dry, prayers upward.”

It's hard to accuse Murkowski of being caught flat-footed by the challenge, though. Given 2010's brutal anti-incumbent environment, Murkowski took Miller seriously. She spent more than $2 million on the primary.

This puts the Murkowski loss in perspective:

Not a single public poll showed Miller within striking distance of Murkowski in the weeks before the primary, and she spent more than 12 times as much as he spent. . . . Like many political observers in the state, veteran GOP pollster David Dittman was surprised by Miller's strong showing. He said his most recent polling showed Miller closing in on Murkowski somewhat, but still trailing her by about 20 points. . . .

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