September 1st, 2010
08:41 AM ET
11 years ago

Palin, Tea Party show muscle in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) - Call it another major victory for the Tea Party movement - and Sarah Palin.

Tuesday night Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska conceded to Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller in the state's Republican Senate primary.

"We know that we still have outstanding votes to count in this primary, but based on where we are right now, I don't see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor," Murkowski told reporters in Anchorage. "I am now conceding the race for the Republican nomination."

She said she informed Miller of her decision, but didn't endorse him at her news conference and did not take questions from reporters.

According to unofficial results from the August 24 primary, Murkowski trailed Miller by 1,668 votes. Tuesday election officials began counting the thousands of absentee ballots, early votes, and questioned ballots that had yet to be tabulated. But by the end of counting Tuesday Murkowski still trailed Miller by more than 1,600 votes.

"We started from a handful of people knowing who we were and what we stood for to now being the Republican Party nominee," said Miller in a statement released by his campaign.

A little-known attorney who is a graduate of West Point and Yale Law School, Miller was boosted by the endorsement and support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and by the backing of the Tea Party Express. Arguably the country's most high-profile national Tea Party organization, the group spent nearly $600,000 assisting Miller's campaign.

"[Sarah Palin] was right in her proclamation that Joe Miller was a first-rate candidate who offered a vision for the future of this country and how to return America to the right track," Tea Party Express said in a statement.

In early June, Palin– the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee endorsed Miller - putting out statements on her Facebook page and Twitter feed. In endorsing Miller, Palin said at that time that there was no "feud or bad blood" between herself and Murkoswki, but their differences have been well-documented. Palin captured the governorship in 2006 after defeating then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, Lisa's father, in that year's Republican primary. And when Palin quit as governor last summer, Murkowski said she was "deeply disappointed" and accused Palin of abandoning the state.

In the weekend before the primary, a recording of Palin urging Alaskans to vote for Miller was blasted to Republican voters across the state.

Miller acknowledged the support he received, saying, "I need to thank others who provided vital support to this campaign including Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Mike Huckabee, and the Tea Party movement."

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, also endorsed Miller and provided support.

Miller becomes the fifth Republican candidate with serious backing and support by Tea Party activists to capture a GOP Senate nomination. The others are Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah and Ken Buck of Colorado.

Murkowski becomes the third incumbent senator to be ousted in the primary process this cycle, joining Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Republican Bob Bennett of Utah.

Although they backed Murkowski, since she was the incumbent Republican senator, the national party is now getting behind Miller.

"The NRSC is committed to doing everything that we can in order to ensure Joe Miller's victory this November, and I have no doubt that he will be elected as the next U.S. Senator from Alaska," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

It appears Miller will also get assistance from the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative organization that endorses and contributes to Republican candidates.

"We look forward to helping Joe Miller win in November, and helping him straighten out the Senate and the Republican Party once he gets here," said the group's chairman, former Rep. Chris Chocola.

Miller is now considered the odds-on favorite in the November general election against Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee.

CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski • Sarah Palin
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. mightyfudge

    I think it's hilarious that the TeaParty thinks the solution to ineffective politicians is to elect more politicians. I hate to break it to them, but once their candidates get to Washington they will turn their backs on those who voted for them to solidify their own political futures, just like those before them. It doesn't matter who they are today, but this time next year they will be over-lobbied Beltway insiders. Wake up America. Politicians will never solve our problems.

    September 1, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. T'SAH from Virginia

    "And when Palin quit as governor last summer, Murkowski said she was "deeply disappointed" and accused Palin of abandoning the state..."

    I don't understand it???? Palin QUITS and still so-call WIN??? Are there any Democrats in AK??? Oh I forgot, this is a RED STATE!!! Except for Scott Brown, right??? But Brown is not so RED after all!!!

    I get it – the Tea Party/Palin are winning in mostly RED STATES!!! Hmm, let's see what happens in OTHER STATES!!

    September 1, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Brian in TX

    What is ashamed is that Sarah Palin and the tea party are running these candidates against traditional mainstream conservatives. Their overarching goal is to get thes tea party candidates elected and they are targeting people who have worked across the isle with Democrats.

    That is how things get done in any situation is to work across the isle, however, they don't want that. So if the are successful in getting these extreme candidates elected in the general the gridlock is going to make it impossible to move anyone's "agenda". I wonder how much thought they have given to this fact?

    September 1, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. beth

    thanks, palin...another easy win for democrats in november

    September 1, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Tam

    People will get what they deserve!

    September 1, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. katiec

    Another republican flake.
    Add him to Angle, Paul, Bachman, Palin etc and you realize what a mess the republican party is in, all well deserved.
    The American people are too intelligent to allow these incompetents to get elected to office.

    September 1, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. fronco

    Dont matter its a repub state anyway and i hope Miller takes away ss only in that state if it were posible, S Palin whould be happy if that happened.

    September 1, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. PaulaAP

    The moderate Republicans are reaping what they sowed – getting ousted because they refused to stand up to the ridiculous rightwing nutburgers who are now taking over the GOP. No doubt about it – there's no room for independents or moderate Republicans in today's GOP. That pretty much spells doom in a general election – expecially when your candidates want to change the Constitution, eliminate Social Security and Medicare, deny climate change and science except when it saves their lives, etc., etc. What a weird group of people!

    September 1, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. monila75

    I really think you all give Sarah Palin to much credit. She deserves none. She isn't helping these people win, because its nothing she can add to them. The only thing these tea party wins are saying is that we have an extremist group of people that is going to make the country worst than what it is. It's really sad because not only are theyl Republicans that have hever helped americans, only themselves and now we get a butch of racial hate mongers to bat. Sarah Palin should be shame of herself, call trying to wear the label Chrisitian. She is an iliterate gold digger.

    September 1, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. John D

    Palin has more guts and will power than all the swinging dick's in DC combined! You go Girl!

    September 1, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. anagram_kid

    Miller is a graduate of Yale Law School. Doesn’t that make him one of those ‘ivy league elitists’ that Palin supposedly hates? Let’s be honest here; Palin endorsed Miller as a personal vendetta against the Murkowskis. In the end, it does not matter. Both candidates were terrible choices.

    September 1, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. beth

    Yeah, leave it to this nit wit to endorse a man who wants to get rid of the department of education, social security and medicare. Hey, she's out selling herself and her kids so she'll be ok financially and won't need social security...and it's obvious that she's not worried about her kids' well being. Thank God that she's only an example to the mentally challenged. And contrary to what most people think, her kids are probably better off with her out roaming the country stirring up hate than they would be if she were present in their day to day lives.

    September 1, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. JayDeeT

    The media calls Palin a "big winner"!! A winner of what? Helping right-wing racists get elected by the "angry" middle-class white voters who think their world is being replaced with a subversive cadre of neo-Bolshevik and anarchist "liberals"! On the other hand, perhaps we're now in a phase of American history where stupidity and know-nothingism is a virtue! The big bad "commies" of the 1950's don't have to "bury" us: we can dummy-down our politics our selves without anyone's help.

    September 1, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. chad

    so she has a lot of sway with conservative alaska. surprise, suprise.

    September 1, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. rs

    Wake up Republicans. Sarah and the TP are eating your lunch. The lunatics are taking over the asylum.

    September 1, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Jaywing

    Who at CNN is soooo blindly enthalled with Sarah "The Big Lie" Palin that they swoon at her every move? Are you folks really totally tone-deaf to what the vast majority of the American people are saying about this bigoted clown from a little town in Alaska. CNN, the Majority of conservatives don't even think much of Sarah the Quitter. Why are you wasting your time and ours by covering a person who will quickly fade from memory if you'll just shut up? Here's a test: try to write less about Palin than Paris Hilton for a month. Come on, you can do it. After all, they're both about as smart (or not), and Paris says things that are more witty, closer to the truth and with way less off an annoying twang!

    September 1, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. STOP the Insanity!!!!!

    Call it another major victory for the Tea Party movement – and Sarah Palin?????? Stop it. JUST STOP IT. SHE was not running. SHE did NOT win anything.

    Put it to rest already and stop fabricated every little thing you can to keep this Idiot in the public eye soooo much longer than she deserves. And the public certainly does not deserve to be constantly exposed to her stupidity.

    STOP IT.

    September 1, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. norma

    Where were all the right wingers screaming about abolishing the Dept. of Education when their buddy W was rolling out NCLB?

    Do you really think having no national education standards or support for schools, especially in poor rural areas, is a good thing?!?!

    September 1, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. maljazur

    Democrats, Logical People, Liberals, Moderates, (Reformed Right Wingers):
    We can talk all day about the travesty that our political process has become. We ALL know that the right wing Palin-ites have replaced civility with hostility, facts with distortion and lies and hope with fear. Just because it doesn't make sense for these things to translate into victory in November doesn't mean it won't. Make sure you are registered. Make sure everyone you know is registered. Make sure everyone is aware of their voting locations and has a ride. Provide transportation if you need to.
    No need to shout at tea bags and right wing lunatics on the blogs (I'll do that for you! LOL) . Stand up for your country...and vote. See you in November. If you want a vehicle to go forward, put it in"D". Backwards, put it in "R". Never been truer than today!

    September 1, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Fed Up Regular American

    This is great news actually, the more and more EXTREME TEA PARTY Candidates that enter the general election the better......

    The only thing that's bad about this, is that the Wicked Witch of Wasilla" will think that she's all that and a bag of chips....

    I wonder if there is a medical term for people that crave the spotlight and speak in jibberish foolishness, and acts like a child, this would be the stupid woman that we know as Sarah Palin..

    September 1, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Fbx2Phx

    Will Alaskans really vote for a candidate funded by $600,000 of California money? I guess "We don't give a ___how they do it Outside" (Alaskan's term for the Lower 48) no longer applies.

    September 1, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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