Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tea Partier on Brink of Stunning GOP Upset in Alaska

A decorated Gulf War veteran was holding a narrow lead over Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Republican Senate primary, as ballots continued to be counted Wednesday in what could shape up to be a stunning political upset.

Polls taken before primary day had shown Murkowski, a two-term senator from an Alaska political dynasty, leading handily against the first-time candidate. But challenger Joe Miller insisted all along that the state's polling was unreliable -- as of Wednesday morning, Miller held a 2,000-vote lead.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, he had 51 percent and Murkowski had 49 percent. The number of uncounted absentee ballots, though, exceeded the number of votes separating the candidates.

The Alaska race marked the second surprise from a Tea Party-backed candidate in Tuesday's elections. Health care executive Rick Scott earlier defeated Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum for that state's GOP gubernatorial nomination after polls also showed McCollum pulling away from Scott.

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