(CNN) – The Senate Republican primary race in Alaska still isn't over, but Democrats are moving fast to define Joe Miller - the previously unknown attorney who is on the verge of upsetting incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
In a statement Wednesday, DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz described Miller as "an extremist who intends to transition-out Social Security, phase-out Medicare, and end unemployment benefits for all Alaskan families."
"Joe Miller seems more intent on imposing a strict social doctrine to please his out-of-state tea party backers but would leave the people of his state high and dry. Alaskans deserve a Senator who will stick up for them in the United States Senate," Schultz added.
The Anchorage Daily News reported last month that Miller has called for phasing out government Medicare and Social Security, as well as nixing the federal Department of Education.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - An advocacy group is calling for the ouster of former Sen. Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama's bipartisan debt commission, who described Social Security as a "milk cow with 310 million tits!" in an email.
Ashley Carson, executive director of the Older Women's League, wrote in a blog post in April that Simpson is targeting Social Security to fix the deficit even though it "doesn't contribute" to the country's debt problem. She also accused Simpson of "disgusting ageism and sexism" in characterizing those who oppose cuts to benefits as "Gray Panthers" and "Pink Panthers."
In his email to Carson, which was sent Monday night, Simpson said he is defending Social Security, not trying to undermine it, and referred her to information showing the program's long-range shortfalls.
Orlando, Florida (CNN) – Bill McCollum conceded the governor’s race in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but he has yet to speak with Republican nominee Rick Scott.
Both campaigns said Wednesday that phone calls between the two candidates have not been exchanged, an unsurprising development among Florida GOP insiders who acknowledge a deep reservoir of ill will between the two men after months of bruising campaigning.
McCollum spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said her boss will spend the fall working to elect Republicans up and down the Florida ballot, but would not say whether the Attorney General will endorse Scott.
McCollum indicated as much on the evening before the primary vote, when he told reporters “it would be very difficult for me” to back Scott as the GOP nominee.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will deliver a major address on Iraq from the Oval Office next Tuesday night, according to the White House.
The speech, to be delivered at 8 p.m. ET, will last approximately 15 minutes. Obama's remarks will also touch on Afghanistan and the broader war against terrorism, the White House said.
Obama will likely visit a military base on Tuesday prior to delivering the address.
The August 31 speech is timed to coincide with the official end of the U.S. military's combat mission in Iraq. The total number of U.S. troops in Iraq has now fallen below 50,000 - the lowest level since the U.S-led invasion in 2003. The remaining American troops will train, assist and advise the Iraqis.
Vermont’s Democratic gubernatorial primary is still too close to call. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
(CNN) – It's a race that the national media easily overlooked given more high profile contests in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska, but the battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Vermont has shaped up to be among Tuesday's most competitive elections.
The five-way race remains too close to call, with only 132 votes separating the top two finishers – State Sens. Peter Shumlin and Douglas Racine. A third candidate, state Sen. Deb Markowitz also remains very much in the mix, trailing Racine by only 651 votes.
Matt Dunne, a former state senator and executive at Google, finds himself 3,000 votes back while state Sen. Susan Bartlett came in at a distant fifth place.
Despite the unclear result, the five Democrats are slated to appear on the same stage at a "unity rally" later Wednesday. According to CNN affiliate WCAX, the Vermont secretary of state isn't likely to have official vote totals until next Tuesday and a recount is likely given a candidate may ask for one if the vote spread is less than 2 percentage points.
(CNN) – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a possible presidential candidate in 2012, affirmed Wednesday that Sarah Palin is an energizing force among Republicans but suggested her political reach has its limits.
Asked his opinion of Palin in an interview with the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal, a newspaper that covers parts of southern Indiana, Daniels said Palin has a "potentially positive" role in the GOP but added: "Let's wait and see."
"She clearly reaches and energizes some people who hadn't been active before," Daniels said. "That's always a good thing, whoever brings that up. She is an appealing figure, at least to a number of people."
Daniels instead suggested the country needs a leader with the ability to bring disparate factions together to solve what he named as the primary problems facing the country: the growing debt and national security.
(CNN) - As the prospect of a power shift in the House of Representatives becomes more viable, the fundraising arm of House Democrats e-mailed its supporters Wednesday with a fundraising appeal from a Democrat who needed no help fundraising for his own election.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has enlisted President Obama to help raise $1 million before the Federal Election Commission deadline for reporting August fundraising totals passes on August 31.
"I know what a difference grassroots support can make in a tough fight," Obama writes. "In the same way that you helped me defy the pundits and stand strong against the attacks from those who wish to protect the status quo, I need your help to make a difference right now to retain a Democratic House."
Predictably, Obama did express confidence that Democrats would maintain their majority.
(CNN) – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a scion of what was once one of Alaska's most famous political families, finds her Senate career on the brink Wednesday morning – trailing previously little-known attorney Joe Miller by 1,960 votes according to an unofficial count by the Associated Press.
Miller highly benefited from support from the Tea Party Express and the backing of Sarah Palin, who in the 2006 GOP primary defeated a Murkowski of her own – then-sitting Gov. Frank Murkowski.
But with over 16,000 ballots expected to be received within 10-15 days, about 14 percent of the vote remains out standing and it is likely to remain unclear who won this battle for days. Given the number of absentees, Murkowski will likely need to capture 57 percent of the remaining votes to eek out a victory.
Listen: CNN's John King and Bob Costantini discuss the Alaska GOP Senate primary.
Still, on a night where most of the incumbents held serve in the political arena, Murkowski's performance is a striking reminder of continued voter discontent toward incumbents and the influence Palin can wield on elections – especially in her home turf.
(CNN) - After J.D. Hayworth's bid for the Senate in Arizona and Bill McCollum's bid for the governor's mansion in Florida each came to an unsatisfying end, the two candidates offered lukewarm concessions that highlight how divisive each race had become.
McCollum, Florida's attorney general and the GOP establishment's pick who lost to former insurance executive Rick Scott in Florida, conceded the race at almost 1 a.m. via a press release.
"No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multimillionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida," McCollum said.
"While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn't be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits," he added.