Tea Party Targets Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski
The next GOP incumbent in the cross hairs of the Tea Party movement may be the biggest target of all:
Washington (CNN) – The Tea Party Express endorsed on Wednesday a little known Alaska candidate in a bid to oust an incumbent Republican senator who is part of the Senate GOP leadership.
The group is backing Joe Miller in Alaska’s Republican senate primary. In a statement, the Tea Party Express “vows to defeat” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
CNN first reported the story, exclusively, on Wednesday.
“The Tea Party Express will make Miller’s campaign its top priority between now and the August 24th Alaska Primary, and will devote the resources necessary to ensure Miller’s victory,” the group said in a statement.
Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell told CNN that those resources will include the people and money necessary to help Miller, a Fairbanks lawyer with little name identity in Alaska, topple the popular Murkowski. That campaign will also include television and radio ads and possibly, the group says, a Tea Party Express bus tour across Alaska.
The group will try to “level the playing field” on Miller’s behalf, Russell said.
As it attempts to prop up Miller, the group that boasts of defeating Republican lawmakers it deems too moderate, or similar candidates favored by the party, hopes to take down yet another.
“Lisa Murkowski has become part of the problem in Washington,” Tea Party Express Political Director Bryan Shroyer said in the group’s statement. “Her support for record deficit spending, and her flip-flopping on whether to repeal Obamacare are just two of the many issues in which she has broken trust with the citizens she was elected to represent.”
The Tea Party Express endorsement follows Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Miller of a few weeks ago. However, it’s unclear that these endorsements would be enough to allow a candidate with no previous political experience beyond a failed run for the state legislature to beat Murkowski, who sits on the Appropriations Committee and comes from one of the most well-known political families in the state.
There still doesn’t appear to be any polling in this race, so it’s unclear where things stand, but it will be very interesting to watch.