Palin's man in Alaska secures surprise victory for Tea Party

Chalk it up as a home win for Sarah Palin. In one of the biggest upsets of what has already been a hugely successful summer for political underdogs, a virtually-unknown lawyer from Alaska has won a surprise victory in the State's Republican primary, unseating a well-established but far less conservative incumbent in the process.

Joe Miller, who enjoyed vociferous support from Ms Palin, together with funding from the Tea Party movement, becomes the firm favourite to win November's election to the US Senate after narrowly beating Lisa Murkowski, a career politician who holds centre-right views and has held office for the Republicans for eight years.

He was leading by roughly 1,600 votes out of just over 100,000 when Murkowski announced her resignation on Tuesday afternoon. The victory makes Miller the seventh outsider to defeat a sitting politician so far this election season, following the defeat of big-name incumbents like Robert Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

It also provides further evidence of voter frustration with the Washington establishment which could result in huge losses for Barack Obama's Democrats in the coming mid-term elections. Yesterday saw the University of Virginia's influential Crystal Ball polling service predicted dramatic defeats for the Democrats, who could lose control of several governorships, together with both the US Senate and House of Representatives.

It comes hot on the heels of a Gallup poll that shows them 10 points behind the Republicans, the widest gap for almost seven decades. If that were replicated in November, it would turn Obama into a "lame-duck" President who for the final two years of his term in office would hold little sway over anything except US foreign policy.

Mr Miller's rise provides a pertinent insight into the state of mind of Republican supporters, who have shifted firmly to the right since the last presidential election. A decorated Gulf War veteran with no political experience to speak of, his freewheeling campaign focused on two major issues: abortion (he is vehemently opposed) and public spending (he'd like it slashed).

Though Alaska's economy traditionally relies on huge financial support from the rest of America, Miller believes that the US faces an imminent "sovereign debt crisis" and should therefore abolish Social Security and cut spending on almost everything except its military.

On the domestic front, he promised to review the public subsidies that Alaska has for years received from Washington. He also wants to transfer vast tracts of federally-held land into the ownership of locals, who can then develop it.

The platform was enough to win Miller an endorsement from Ms Palin, whose husband Todd is an old friend. She touted him as a "man of the people" on her Facebook page and greeted his victory with a congratulatory message on Twitter: "Do you believe in miracles?!" it read. "Thank you for your service, Sen Murkowski. On to November!"

The Tea Party Express, which donated $600,000 to Miller's campaign, described his victory as "the political shocker of the year". Its chair Amy Kramer said: "[his] campaign based on a constitutional conservative platform resonated with the state's Republican primary voters and should serve as a wake-up call to the political establishments of both parties".

The result was also celebrated by Alaska's Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, a former fisherman and mayor of the town of Sitka. Like many of his party's candidates across America, he hopes to woo swing voters over the coming months by portraying his Tea Party-endorsed opponent as an irrational extremist.

"Lawyer Joe Miller ran an unfair, nasty campaign that didn't extend to Lisa Murkowski the respect she deserves," he said yesterday.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone