Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski trails challenger in Alaska primary

Surprising news from the Last Frontier this evening: Lisa Murkowski, one of only three incumbent Republican senators left in the greater Pacific Northwest, is running behind her Sarah Palin-backed challenger Joe Miller, who appears to have benefited substantially from tea party organizations based in the Lower Forty-Eight. As of midnight Pacific Time (11 PM Alaska Time), Miller led Murkowski by 2,881 votes, with two-thirds of Alaska' precincts reporting.

Republican primary for U.S. Senate (see current results)
Lisa Murkowski: 48.29% (40,577 votes)
Joe Miller: 51.71% (43,458 votes)

Alaska's Republican voters are very right-wing, so it figures that Miller's supporters tried to discredit Murkowski by calling her a liberal:
The California-based Tea Party Express reported spending $600,000 on behalf of Miller with ads that labeled Murkowski a liberal who is prone to voting with the Democrats.

Voters were getting robocalls until the last minute from Palin, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and former Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, saying the country is in crisis and Miller is the man to straighten it out. Those calls were financed by Miller, who raised $180,000 for his campaign.
I didn't think I would ever have an occasion to come to Lisa Murkowski's defense, but there's always a first time for everything. I agree heartily with Senator Murkowski that she is no liberal.

Real liberals support a strong common wealth that is wisely invested for the common good, well-regulated markets to ensure broader prosperity, mutual responsibility, civil rights for all, jobs that pay a living wage, walkable neighborhoods, clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, the conservation and stewardship of our public lands, police and fire protection, excellent public schools, and an effective government that is open and efficient.

Senator Murkowski does not agree with those policy directions, nor does she agree with the principles that underly them. She is unabashedly conservative. And yet her opponent's supporters are calling her a liberal.

I have to wonder... why'd they stop there? Why not be really dishonest and call Murkowski a Stalin-worshiping, Marxist-adoring Communist, since Miller's tea party crew obviously has no compulsion about lying to their fellow Republican voters?

If Murkowski doesn't bounce back in later returns, she will become the second sitting senator to have been ousted by her own party this year. Alaska is heavily Republican, so it's likely Miller would pick up Murkowski's seat, but if he emerges as the nominee, that could make Sitka mayor Scott McAdams' candidacy more attractive to Alaska voters in the general election.

In other news, Sean Parnell looks set to the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race. His opponent will be Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, who is surviving a challenge from Democratic legislator Hollis French. Berkowitz previously ran against Don Young last cycle and nearly won.

Voters are also approving a right wing ballot measure that restricts the ability of young women to get an abortion. Under Measure 2, a girl younger than seventeen cannot legally abort a pregnancy unless her parents have been notified. Similar poorly-conceived laws are already on the books in more than two dozen states.


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