The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

August 22, 2010

Palin an interested spectator in Alaska primary

WASHINGTON — After a string of her candidates fell short in recent election primaries, Sarah Palin takes a trackside seat in her own state Tuesday as her choice for Alaska’s U.S. Senate post takes on the incumbent.

Palin’s pick, attorney and political unknown Joe Miller, seems to have gained little traction against GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, according to political experts in the state.

If Miller loses, it would be the latest setback for Palin’s effort this year to propel candidates nationwide through her endorsements. Candidates she backed in Washington and Wyoming lost in last week’s primaries, and a Palin favorite in Georgia was defeated the week before.

The Alaska primary is one of four across the country Tuesday, in the last big package of partisan contests before Labor Day. Voters in Florida, Arizona and Vermont also will cast ballots.

Palin has developed an unrivaled ability to draw political attention with a single Twitter message or Facebook post. But the mixed record of the dozens of candidates she has endorsed reflects her uneven influence across the country, as well as her willingness to back underdogs in primary elections.

Lisa Murkowski was appointed to the Senate in 2002 by her father, Frank Murkowski, who vacated the seat to become governor. Palin beat the elder Murkowski for governor in 2006.

However, many expect Lisa Murkowski to be favored in a state where voters seem to value seniority. The elder Murkowski was elected to the Senate four times, and the late Sen. Ted Stevens served 40 years. The state’s sole House member, Republican Rep. Don Young, is cruising to his 20th term.

“There are some that may not like her position on things — she’s seen by some as ’Liberal Lisa’ — but they will swallow that,” said David Dittman, a former Stevens staffer and Republican consultant. “There’s not much that’s more important than (seniority) to Alaska.”

Palin has limited her personal involvement in the Alaska race, and Miller noted he had received backing from other prominent Republicans, including onetime presidential contender Mike Huckabee.

“We’ve got lots of endorsements during the campaign,” Miller said in an interview. “It certainly moved us to the national spotlight.”

In Arizona, Palin has backed Sen. John McCain, who faces a challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth. Two years ago, Palin and McCain were running mates in the Republican presidential bid.

McCain, who has shed his label as a party maverick and hewed more closely to conservative orthodoxy to hold off Hayworth, is widely expected to survive Tuesday’s primary.

Also in Arizona, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is riding a tide of popularity stemming from her role in the debate over illegal immigration as she campaigns for a first full term. Once considered vulnerable, Brewer saw her two main Republican opponents pull out of the race as her standing among conservatives skyrocketed.

She will face state Attorney General Terry Goddard, running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, in November.

The lack of suspense in the West contrasts with rich storylines in Florida, a state that has grown accustomed to political drama. What was once a marquee race for the Republican Senate nomination is now a formality, months after Gov. Charlie Crist abandoned the party to run as an independent candidate.

Instead it is the Democratic contest generating attention. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek battles the self-financed candidacy of Jeff Greene, a billionaire real estate investor, for the right to challenge Crist and Republican Marco Rubio in November.

Similarly, billionaire candidate Rick Scott is challenging state Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Scott surged ahead of McCollum shortly after entering the race and blanketing the airwaves in April. But a Quinnipiac University poll showed McCollum has regained an advantage.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democrat Alex Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, as well as independent candidate Bud Chiles, son of the state’s last Democratic governor.


(c) 2010, Tribune Co.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


Text Only
National News
  • Obama shows skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

    President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments.

    April 17, 2014

  • Judge in gay marriage case asks pointed questions

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    April 17, 2014

  • Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

    Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target’s computer systems last December.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies

    As political campaigns begin to heat up, the Supreme Court is deciding whether false accusations and mudslinging made during an election can be punished as a crime.

    April 16, 2014

  • Auto Show Nissan Hot _Cast.jpg Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

    With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Transportation Blues 2.jpg Congress is giving states the transportation blues

    On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. transportation secretary is spreading some bad news: the government’s Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Report: Russia withheld intel before Boston attack

    A yearlong review of information the U.S. intelligence community had prior to the Boston Marathon bombing found that the investigation could have been more thorough.

    April 11, 2014

  • Obama Health Secretary.jpg Obama announces Sebelius resignation, successor

    President Barack Obama praised outgoing Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for helping to steer his health care law’s comeback after a rocky rollout, even as he nominated a successor aimed at helping the White House move past the political damage.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police seek driver in deadly Florida day care crash

    As mourners trickled by Thursday to honor the 4-year-old girl who was killed and 14 others injured in a crash at a Florida day care, authorities scoured the state for the driver they said fled in the vehicle that caused the fatal wreck.

    April 10, 2014

  • Stephen Colbert-Late _Cast.jpg Stephen Colbert to replace Letterman on late show

    CBS moved swiftly Thursday to replace the retiring David Letterman with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, who will take over the “Late Show” next year and do battle with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel for late-night television supremacy.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo