It's Miller Time in Alaska

Senator Lisa Murkowski has conceded the GOP primary to the Tea Party extremist Joe Miller, a West Point grad with a Yale law degree in private practice up in Fairbanks.

The story in the New York Times:

Mr. Miller shocked the political establishment here and in Washington last week when he emerged with a narrow lead, 1,668 votes, after the primary vote, on Aug. 24. His victory makes him the presumed favorite to win the Senate seat from this heavily Republican state.

Mr. Miller, who has proposed drastic cuts in federal spending, had trailed badly in local polls in the weeks before the election but benefited from a last-minute flood of advertisements, mailings and automated calls casting Ms. Murkowski as a Democrat in disguise. An abortion-related ballot measure also brought conservatives to the polls.

Many people said Ms. Murkowski’s failure to respond aggressively to Mr. Miller’s attacks, including some that distorted her voting record, had played an important role in her defeat. But she suggested on Tuesday that she had no regrets.

“I’m so proud of the campaign that we conducted,” she told reporters at her campaign headquarters here as dozens of friends and family members surrounded her and cheered. “It was honest. It was upright. It was energetic. It was what a campaign in Alaska should be.”

“We stayed on the high road,” Ms. Murkowski said. “We talked about how we move the state of Alaska forward.”

Her concession followed the counting of about 17,000 additional ballots in the race on Tuesday, which left Mr. Miller with a lead of 1,630 votes out of about 104,000 cast. Several thousand more votes were to be counted on Friday, but the trend suggested Ms. Murkowski would not gain enough ground to win.

“Based on where we are right now, I don’t see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor,” she said.

It's certainly a feather in Sarah Palin's cap. Another Republican who was beyond ecstatic was South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. He issued a short statement calling Miller's win "a wake-up call."

Joe Miller’s victory should be a wake-up call to politicians who go to Washington to bring home the bacon. Voters are saying ‘We’re not willing to bankrupt the country to benefit ourselves.’”Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind Joe Miller and help him win this important race in November. I’m proud to announce that the Senate Conservatives Fund will add Joe Miller to its list of endorsed candidates, and will immediately begin working to raise support for his campaign.”

Joe Miller now faces Scott McAdams, the former mayor of Sitka. A Public Policy Polling survey released Sunday showed McAdams trailing Miller by only 8 points in a two-way race, 39 percent to 47 percent. McAdams would not fared as well if he had run against Murkowski. That same poll showed Murkowski leading McAdams, 60 percent to 28 percent.

There had been talk of replacing McAdams with a higher profile Democratic candidate but Senator Mark Begich and the Alaska Democratic Party have reaffirmed their support. The key now is raising at least a million dollars to run an effective campaign. McAdams had raised less than $10,000 as of his last FEC filing.

Miller is perhaps the most extreme candidate running this cycle and that's quite a statement given the likes of Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Miller wants to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy. He believes that unemployment insurance and Medicaid are unconstitutional and has called for sweeping cuts to Medicare and Social Security with a goal of phasing them out entirely in favor of total privatization. He wants to ban all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. And while he favors deep spending cuts to social safety net programmes, the former combat veteran of the first Gulf War does not think the defense budget should be cut.

“If we have one nuclear bomb or one chemical weapon go off in one of our cities overnight, it changes the face of this nation and in a horrific way, not just in loss of life, but in loss of freedom, the impact financially,” Miller told the Fairbanks News Miner. “We still haven’t recovered from 9/11. We can’t afford to have a military that isn’t that strong, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have efficiencies, and I think that’s what the secretary is trying to build.”

 

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