An Alaska Shocker

A week after voters went to the polls in Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) conceded defeat in her GOP primary last night, becoming the third sitting Senator to be booted out of office this year.

The winner was insurgent Republican Joe Miller, a Fairbanks attorney, who benefited from Tea Party backing and the support of former Gov. Sarah Palin.

Murkowski’s move came after a day of absentee ballot vote counting, which only trimmed Miller’s lead from 1,668 votes down to 1,630.  At one point, she was within 1200 votes, but then the numbers went the wrong way.

So instead of fighting on, Murkowski conceded the race, acknowledging to supporters last night that she has little chance of turning the outcome around.

Very few people in Washington, D.C. – in other words, almost no one – would have predicted a Murkowski loss eight days ago, but she will soon be packing boxes instead of staying on for another term.

Overall this year, seven lawmakers have been pushed out the door already, the three in the Senate and four in the House.

They include Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL) and Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI).

As for the Alaska general election, early polls indicate that Miller will be the favorite in November for U.S. Senate, with a Basswood Research survey giving Miller a 16 point lead over his Democratic opponent.

One more big round of primaries is left on September 14.  We’ll see if any more incumbents bite the dust that day.  Maybe the most closely watched will be Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

62 days until the elections.


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