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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs