News / USA

Alaska's Republican Senator Murkowski Trailing Conservative Rival

Veteran Republican Senator John McCain has easily defeated a conservative challenger in the Arizona Republican primary election.  But in Alaska, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is in a race against a conservative Tea Party challenger that is still too close to call.  

Primary elections across America this year to choose Democratic and Republican candidates for the midterm elections in November have shown that voters often appear to be angry with establishment, incumbent candidates.  

Political reporter Alex Isenstadt, of the online and print news agency Politico, says Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski may turn out to be another example of voters punishing the incumbent.

"In Alaska you have one of the biggest political upsets of the year brewing, with Lisa Murkowski, the senator there, so far losing in her primary bid against Attorney Joe Miller, who had been challenging her," he said.

Murkowski trailed Miller by fewer than 2,000 votes, with as many as 16,000 absentee ballots to be counted, beginning next week.

Murkowski's poor showing and possible loss to the politically-inexperienced Miller has shocked many analysts.  Joe Miller made big government a major campaign issue and accused Murkowski of not being conservative enough.

Reporter Isenstadt points out Miller was endorsed by former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a favorite of conservative Tea Party activists.

"Palin has endorsed in a lot of races this cycle, she has had mixed success, but this race last night, if she played a key role there, that really just shows the ongoing influence that Palin has in these races, I think," said Isenstadt.

Palin also endorsed her former running mate for the 2008 presidential election, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona.  In running for the nomination for his fifth term in the U.S. Senate, McCain faced former Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth.  McCain crushed Hayworth in the primary.  In his victory speech late Tuesday, McCain expressed optimism that Republicans have the momentum for elections in November.

"I am convinced that Republicans will win in November and we will regain our majority in both the Senate and the House," he said.

McCain recognized the threat from challenger Hayworth early in the race, and shifted his position on the biggest issue in Arizona, illegal immigration, to the right.  McCain, who had once supported comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and rejected calls for a fence along the southern U.S. border with Mexico, campaigned for tough enforcement of border security and called for the border fence to be finished.  

Isenstadt said that during the primary race, McCain also rejected the label of "maverick" or independent that he and Sarah Palin had used almost daily during their White House bid against then senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

"McCain ran hard to the right, he portrayed himself as having a more conservative record in the Senate than he probably has had, and he ran away from that maverick label that he had really embraced during his presidential run," said Isenstadt.

Political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said John McCain is a survivor.

"Look, it is all about politics, it is all about getting re-elected.  Politicians do what they have to do to win.  If John McCain had run as a maverick in this Republican primary, in this year of the Tea Party, he would lose his Senate seat.  Instead he decided he wanted to win.  And in order to win he had to tack to the right," said Sabato.

Another surprise Tuesday was political outsider and millionaire businessman Rick Scott's win in the Florida Republican primary for governor over well-known state Attorney General Bill McCollum.  Also in Florida, Democratic Representative Kendrick Meet defeated billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene in the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.  Meek will have tough opponents, facing Florida Governor Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is now running for the senate as an independent, and Marco Rubio, who easily won the Republican primary.

Political analyst Larry Sabato said it is Democrats and not Republicans who are likely to bear the brunt of voter anger and anxiety in the November elections.

"This is not turning into an anti-incumbent election, it is basically an anti-Democratic election," said Sabato.  "That is because we have a Democratic president.  And traditionally, in American midterms, when conditions are bad in the economy, the voters vote against the incumbent party, not incumbents generally, but the incumbent party, and that is the Democrats."

The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate are up for election in just 70 days.  The vote could change the balance of power in one or both houses, where the Democratic party now holds the majority.  The elections will also affect President Obama's ability to set the agenda and get his polices enacted during the next two years.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More