Alaska: It’s not all about Palin

The Anchorage Daily News reminds us that although Sarah Palin’s endorsement surely helped Joe Miller in last night’s Alaska Senate primary, there was much more to his race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R:

There was a lot more going on in this race than the Tea Party and Palin, though. Anti-Palin Alaska Republicans were arguing that voters should hold their nose and vote for Miller in spite of the endorsement of the former governor. Elements of Alaska’s right wing have always disliked Murkowski.

Murkowski’s pro-choice stance is a particularly sore point, one that Miller supporters hammered her on.

Tuesday’s primary election also included Ballot Measure 2, which would require parents to be notified before their teens age 17 and younger received an abortion. Miller said he thinks that brought out voters who supported him over Murkowski, even though she supported the ballot measure as well.

“The Prop. 2 supporters were our supporters, largely. … Frankly I think the pro-life vote was important,” Miller said on Tuesday night.

Murkowski was a moderate state legislator when she was appointed by her father, Frank Murkowski, in 2002 to the U.S. Senate seat he was giving up to become governor. The theme of a royal dynasty was also a part of the Miller campaign against her.

Murkowsi’s paternal appointment was almost enough to cost her party the seat in the 2004 election, so this is perhaps less surprising than you’d expect. Her pro-choice abortion stance is also out of step with most Alaska Republican voters. It is not substantially different from that of former Sen. Ted Stevens, R, but he was different — an unbeatable force in primaries, even after his 2008 indictment — because he was the state’s original titan of pork and its senator almost since Alaska first became a state.

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