Conservative insurgent Joe Miller may be on the verge of toppling Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the state's Republican primary, in what could prove to be a significant victory for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (as well as Miller, of course).
An unknown attorney from Fairbanks, Miller currently holds a slight lead over Murkowski in large part because of his support from Palin, he said Tuesday night.
"I'm absolutely certain that was pivotal," Miller said of Palin's endorsement, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
At her own campaign headquarters Tuesday, Murkowski took a shot at Palin, according to the Daily News.
"I think she's out for her own self-interest," she said. "I don't think she's out for Alaska's interest."
If Miller wins, it would be one of the biggest upsets in Alaskan political history, as well as the first demonstration of Palin's influence in Alaska since she resigned as governor last year.
When sheearlier this year, Palin insisted there was no "feud or bad blood" between her and Murkowski. But the two politicians have a contentious history. When Palin resigned as governor, Murkowski released a terse statement about how she was "disappointed" that Palin quit. Palin first made it to the governor's office by defeating Murkowski's father Frank, the Republican incumbent, in the 2006 election.
On Twitter, Palin called Miller's possible victory "a miracle on ice."
If Murkowski does lose, she would be the third incumbent senator to face defeat before even making it to the general election.
At left, Democratic and Republican strategists discuss Palin's effect on primaries on Washington Unplugged.
More than just Palin's influence was at work in the Alaska Senate primary, however. The Tea Party made significant investments in Miller's campaign, and Miller also won endorsements from other conservatives such as former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Miller also hammered Murkowski for being supportive of abortion rights, an issue that played a major role in bringing out his supporters because an abortion measure was also on the ballot. Measure 2, which voters approved, requires teenagers to notify their parents before receiving an abortion.
"The Prop. 2 supporters were our supporters, largely," Miller said, as the Anchorage Daily News reported. "Frankly, I think the pro-life vote was important."More election coverage: