The Corner

Miracle on Ice?

As votes continue to be counted, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is in danger of losing Alaska’s GOP Senate primary. Joe Miller, a little-known Fairbanks attorney, now leads Murkowski by about 2,000 votes with 98 percent of precincts reporting, according to an unofficial count by the Associated Press.

Though the final tally may not be known for days, thanks to thousands of absentee ballots waiting to be counted, Miller is confident that he can pull off the upset. “The response to our campaign really exploded this past week,” Miller said in an interview with National Review Online. “We benefited from an incredible wave of support. Alaskans tend to put stuff off until the last minute. In the past few days, they got educated.”

Miller, a self-described “constitutional conservative,” was boosted by a last-minute money blitz from the Tea Party Express, which reportedly spent over $550,000 on the race. Abortion may have also played a role in generating turnout. On Tuesday’s ballot there was a measure requiring parental notification for women 17 and younger seeking an abortion. The proposal, Ballot Measure 2, passed with 55 percent of the vote. Miller was endorsed by Alaska Right to Life.

Miller also received high-profile endorsements from Mike Huckabee and, most notably, Sarah Palin, who recorded a robo-call for Miller in the campaign’s final days. Palin’s support, he says, was “pivotal.”

Miller’s and Palin’s paths have aligned before. Two years ago, Miller helped Palin try to oust the state GOP chairman. Though they were unsuccessful, the pair bonded. “He has fought alongside me and others to help clean up the Republican Party here in Alaska by bringing in new leadership, new ideas, and commitment to putting government back on the side of the people, not any political machine,” Palin noted in her endorsement. Miller also supported Palin in 2006, when she beat Murkowski’s father, Gov. Frank Murkowski, in Alaska’s GOP gubernatorial primary.

Miller, along with Senate hopefuls Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada, hopes to be part of a new conservative nucleus in the upper chamber. Like that pair, “I align with Sen. Jim DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn, both of whom are phenomenal voices for reform,” he says.

Miller grew up in Kansas, but came to Alaska “by choice” in 1994, after taking a degree from Yale Law School and picking up a Bronze Star in Desert Storm. After a childhood of hunting and fishing, “the can-do attitude, the rough living, the great outdoors — it had a magnetizing pull,” he says.

As he and his team chart the numbers, Miller tells us that he remains upbeat. His latest joke on Twitter: “What’s the moose hunting like in the Beltway?”

Murkowski, if she is defeated, would be the third senator to lose this cycle, following Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

John Brennan’s Bad Behavior

My Bloomberg View colleague Eli Lake is right about this: "[W]hen Brennan uses his authority as a former CIA director to launch flimsy attacks on the president's legitimacy, he validates Trump's claim that the intelligence agencies are biased against him." Over the last two years the president's critics have ... Read More
White House

Bill Clinton Redux

Stormy Daniels could have stepped right out of the 1990s. She would have been a natural in a Bill Clinton scandal, and, in fact, all the same means would have been used against her. Donald Trump’s tactics in these cases are almost indistinguishable from the Clintons’. The effort to shut down the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

California’s Pro-Nuclear Renegade

If California’s upcoming gubernatorial race gets decided solely by money, Michael Shellenberger doesn’t have a chance. The latest campaign filings show that Shellenberger, an environmentalist from Berkeley, has about $37,000 in cash on hand. The frontrunner in the June 5 California primary, Lieutenant ... Read More

Encouraging Signs in Iraq

Last year, relations between the Iraqi central government and the Kurds reached what was possibly an all-time low when the Kurds held an independence referendum in which 93 percent of voters opted to secede. The timing was no coincidence: Iraqi forces had retreated from Kurdish territory in 2014 as the Islamic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Do Not Congratulate

Do you want some good news out of the gargantuan budget bill now making its way through Congress? Buried among the mountains of pork and assorted unmentionables, there is one random provision I really like. It requires the Congressional Research Service -- which does a huge amount of very valuable policy research ... Read More
Film & TV

Superannuated ‘Idol’

In the pilot episode of Fox’s American Idol, Simon Cowell defined the show’s thesis: “We are going to tell people who cannot sing and have no talent that they have no talent. And that never makes you popular.” The show’s producers and its three judges -- Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson -- kept ... Read More