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A Catch-22 in Alaska

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Miller. AP Photo

The U.S. Senate race in Alaska is making national headlines. Tea Party candidate Joe Miller, who shockingly beat incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary, questions whether federal programs such as social security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits are even constitutional.

He wants to abolish the Department of Education and return most federal power to the states. His small government Tea Party message has garnered a lot of support in Alaska.

However, some up here are wondering if what sounds good on the campaign trail is really good for their state.

One in three jobs in Alaska are tied to the federal government, and for every $1 the state sends to Washington DC in taxes, it gets $1.84 back in federal funding.

Per capita, Alaska gets more federal dollars than any other state. So some Alaskans are taking a second look at Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate.

Evening News: Alaska Senate Race Becomes a Dead Heat

She says Miller's positions are "extreme" and "simplistic." Even some conservative talk radio hosts in Anchorage say the state needs the federal government to survive.

We tried to talk to Joe Miller about this but despite many requests for an interview, he didn't give us one. We went to his campaign headquarters and his press secretary said he would arrange something, but never did.

EXTRA: Ben Tracy Talks to Alaskans on Who They Want and Think Will Win the Race: Special Report: Campaign 2010

Ben Tracy is a CBS News correspondent.

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