Politics

How Sarah Palin Might Throw Alaska's Senate Race

April 24, 2014

Democrats might long remember 2014 as the year when Sarah Palin won a place in their hearts. Four years ago, an endorsement by the former governor and vice-presidential contender vaulted Joe Miller from obscurity to Republican primary winner in the U.S. Senate race in Alaska, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. In the general election, Murkowski ran again as a write-in Republican, and won. Miller sank between the primary and the general election, helped along to his demise by eagerly reported news accounts of improprieties, including his security detail’s handcuffing of a journalist.

Although Miller narrowly lost his bid for the Senate, he parlayed Palin’s endorsement into national name recognition, what he calls a “top-ranked” Internet news site (“Restoring Liberty” at joemiller.us) and a small but intensely loyal local following—the kinds of people who are “looking for the Ted Cruzes, the Mike Lees, the Rand Pauls.” Miller is running again this year in the Republican primary for the right to oppose incumbent Sen. Mark Begich—one of the most endangered Democrats of the 2014 midterms and a key takedown target for Republicans.

Yet by an unusual arrangement of events, Miller is actually poised to seal Begich’s re-election, protect the Democrats’ Senate majority and prevent the repeal of Obamacare. And it’s all thanks to Sarah Palin.

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