Tea Party Express Backs Palin-Favored Candidate Over Murkowski In Alaska

"A national Tea Party group on Wednesday endorsed Alaska Republican Joe Miller, hoping to give the longshot candidate a boost in his primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski," the Associated Press writes.

Joe Miller, Tea Party-favored Senate candidate in Alaska.

Joe Miler, the Tea Party's choice. Facebook.com/JoeMillerAlaska hide caption

itoggle caption Facebook.com/JoeMillerAlaska

The Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Politics Blog says that the endorsement from the Tea Party Express "is a big deal for Miller’s long-shot candidacy. The Tea Party Express said it will make the race its top priority between now and the Aug. 24 primary."

Miller, a Fairbanks lawyer, already had one high-profile supporter: Former Alaska governor, 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the GOP incumbent. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

"I’m proud to join so many other long-time Alaskans in supporting Joe Miller in the upcoming Alaska Republican Primary," Palin announced earlier this month. "Joe is a true Commonsense Constitutional Conservative, and we’re thankful he and his family are willing to offer us a choice in Alaskan leadership."

As the liberal-leaning Salon has written, Palin and Murkowski have a somewhat complicated history:

"In 2002, when Sen. Frank Murkowski became governor of Alaska, Palin was in the running to be appointed to replace him in the United States Senate. Instead, Murkowski chose his daughter, Lisa, for the seat and appointed Palin to an $118,000 a year job with the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission.

"In 2004, when Lisa Murkowski ran for her first full term, Palin considered running against her, but citing her son Track’s desire to be away from the public spotlight, she decided against it. Palin backed Murkowski’s primary opponent, Mike Miller.

"In 2006, when Palin won the governorship it was by defeating Murkowski’s father, Frank."

So far this campaign season, Tea Party movements have been instrumental in knocking out Republican Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah and GOP-establishment Senate hopefuls in Nevada and Kentucky. For now, at least, the Daily News is keeping Miller on its "long-shot" list.

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