Quelling any GOP fears of a long and drawn-out primary fight, incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski conceded the Republican nomination to Joe Miller, a Fairbanks attorney who was endorsed by former governor Sarah Palin. Fears of an independent run appear squashed since the AK Libertarian Party has declined to deem Murkowski their candidate.
I give credit to Murkowski for reading the writing on the wall and not elongating a needlessly divisive process. I’m not intimately familiar with Alaska politics, but she seems to have stood a chance at foiling Miller and helping the Democrat. She can complete the goodwill tour by endorsing Miller in the general election. Since she has no other avenues, it would only be out of pure spite to Miller and to Palin to suggest that Miller’s Democratic challenger might be worthy of some of her supporters’ votes.
I doubt that Murkowksi’s career is completely over. Alaska’s other Senator is Democrat Mark Begich, a scion of another venerable Alaskan political family whose term is up in 2014. If she can wait that long, Murkowski would stand a better than decent shot at winning that seat.
Miller’s victory in the primary is a win for both Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, who stood behind Miller’s more conservative credentials and his Ivy League and West Point education. Miller’s win shows he is no empty suit that will wilt before a Democratic onslaught, and a less confrontational stance between Miller and Murkowski will increase his chances in this intrinsically Republican seat.