Palin Vs. Murkowski Redux In Alaska

An earlier post today wrote of what's at stake in today's Arizona primaries.  Another incumbent Republican senator, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, is also facing a primary challenge from the right.

Murkowski, first appointed to the Senate in a controversial move in 2002 by her father, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, to fill his vacated seat, is up for a second full term.  But first she needs to get by Joe Miller, a Tea Party-backed conservative who has the much-publicized (but one of ultimately questionable value) endorsement of Sarah Palin, who served most of her term as governor before resigning last year.  Palin's backing of Miller consisted of a Twitter tweet and signing a fundraising appeal, but no actual campaigning.  Palin, of course, became governor by defeating Frank Murkowski in the 2006 primary.  But she insists that her backing of Miller is ideological, not personal.  Nonetheless, most accounts of the race appear to be overplaying the Palin angle — including the header to this blog post.  Mike Huckabee, another national favorite of GOP conservatives, is also backing Miller.  A key Murkowski supporter, former Sen. Ted Stevens, died in a plane crash Aug. 9.  Three Democrats are also running but none seems likely to be competitive in November.

GovernorSean Parnell (R) became governor upon Palin's surprise resignation last year.  He is facing two challengers: former state Rep. Ralph Samuels and businessman Bill Walker.  Seeking the Democratic nomination are former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, who gave U.S. Rep. Don Young (D) a scare in 2008, and state Sen. Hollis French.  Berkowitz is considered the favorite in the primary but an underdog to Parnell or whomever the Republicans put up for November.

Polls close at 1 a.m. Eastern time.

Click here to read my colleague Liz Halloran's preview of today's Florida primaries.

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