It looks like Lisa Murkowski has pulled off a win in a remarkable feat. She not only defeated the official Republican nominee in a write-in campaign, but she also did it against a Tea Party-favorite, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate.
Joe Miller is behind by 10,000 votes as of the last count, so there is no mathematical way he can win, even by demanding a hand recount, succeeding in disqualifying all of the Murkowski votes he is disputing, and even if he wins the outstanding absentee votes.
It was the victory of a porkmeister over an earmark reformer; of an establishment politician over a Tea Party rebel; and, perhaps really importantly, of a Murkowski over Sarah Palin.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit charts out what is next for Murkowski in the new Congress:
“As for Murkowski, I wonder if she’ll stick with the GOP or embrace her status as the new RINO messiah or whatever by going fully independent. If she takes the latter path – possibly to form the nucleus of a new independent Senate caucus with Snowe, Brown, etc, as I described once before – she’d instantly become a national figure. But then she’d also risk being stripped of her Energy Committee position by the GOP, and a senator who promised to bring home the pork to Alaska can’t afford that.”
Murkowski will enter a Senate where earmarking will not be quite as acceptable as it has been in the past. Her efforts to siphon off bacon for the home folks back in Alaska will be under more scrutiny than it has been in times past. Certainly Sarah Palin and her Tea Party supporters will be highly motivated to make sure this does not happen.
Murkowski’s victory is a setback for Palin’s political ambitions and her efforts to break Alaska’s culture of dependency on the federal government and a turn toward more self-reliance based on that state’s immense store of natural resources. As Sarah Palin contemplates a run for the presidency, her critics will say that she can’t win even if nominated. She could not even elect her hand-picked candidate in her own state.
Palin is, among much else, pugnacious and capable of absorbing a defeat. She might be comforted by an account of the Battle of the Wilderness, Ulysses S. Grant’s first big battle against Robert E. Lee in Northern Virginia. By every measure, the Army of the Potomac had been beaten. As his soldiers looked upon General Grant, expecting the orders to retreat north back across the Rappahannock River, Grant took his cigar out of his mouth and ordered the army to keep advancing.
When Lee heard of this, he felt a chill and told his subordinates that at last he was up against a different kind of Yankee general.
One suspects, knowing her record and personality, Sarah Palin will take Grant’s example to heart. After all, her own signature slogan is, “Don’t retreat. Reload.”
Source: AP: Murkowski wins Alaska Senate race, Allahpundit, Hot Air, November 17th, 2010