Pro-Abortion Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski Concedes to Pro-Life Joe Miller
by Steven Ertelt
September 1, 2010
Juneau, AK (LifeNews.com) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of the few pro-abortion Republicans in the U.S. Senate, conceded defeat late Tuesday to pro-life primary election challenger Joe Miller. Murkowski failed to gain enough votes on Miller in Tuesday’s count of absentee ballots to overcome the advantage Miller had on election night last week.
Murkowski said at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage that, based on the recount totals, "I don’t see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor."
Murkowski’s concession completes what is one of the biggest surprises in the election season — with a pro-life candidate coming virtually out of nowhere to unseat an incumbent senator with a family name recognition in a race that few political observers expected to be competitive.
Miller led Murkowski by less than 3,000 votes after the August 24th primary but Murkowski wanted to wait on the absentee ballot count before making a decision. She gained only 200 votes from the count and Miller’s lead shrank from 1,668 votes to 1,469 by the end of the day.
It also marks the third time this election cycle that an incumbent senator has lost in a primary — with pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter going down in defeat in Pennsylvania and pro-life Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah losing his primary election bid to another pro-life candidate.
Miller will now head to the general election in the Alaska Senate race, where he faces pro-abortion Democratic Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams in a contest he is expected to win handily in November.
National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn, who had backed Murkowski in the primary, pledged to support Miller.
"The NRSC is committed to doing everything that we can in order to ensure Joe Millers victory this November, and I have no doubt that he will be elected as the next U.S. Senator from Alaska," Cornyn said in a statement, according to The Hill.
Former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin played a key role in helping Miller, as did pro-life former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Palin sent out a message on Twitter after Murkowski conceded, saying "Do you believe in miracles?! Congratulations, Joe Miller."
Miller has credited Measure 2, the vote on parental notification before a teenager can have an abortion, with helping his campaign. He told the Anchorage Daily News last week that supporters of the pro-life ballot measure likely aided him in his primary because he is pro-life and strongly endorsed the ballot proposal while Murkowski supports legalized abortion.
Murkowski, in the most recent Congress, has just a 71 percent pro-life voting record, according to numbers from the National Right to Life Committee.
In January 2009, she voted against a pro-life amendment seeking to restore the Mexico City Policy President Barack Obama overturned that limits taxpayer funding of groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations.
The same month, she opposed an amendment to codify the "unborn child rule" and allow the State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) program to provide coverage for unborn children of poor women — helping reduce the financial reasons women say make them consider abortions.
In both votes, Murkowski was one of just four Republicans to deviate from the position of the rest of the Senate GOP caucus as dozens of other Republicans voted pro-life.
Miller hammered Murkowski about those votes during the primary race and ran on a conservative and pro-life platform that included calling for the repeal of the pro-abortion health care bill Obama signed into law.
Palin’s involvement marks the second time she has gone against Murkowski.
In 2006, Palin beat Murkowski’s father, Frank Murkowski, in the primary for governor and went on to win the Alaska governorship. In 2008, John McCain chose her to become his running mate, cementing her status as a national political figure.
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