Seeing the writing on the wall, Senator Lisa Murkowski took to the microphone at around 6pm Tuesday evening, local time, to concede the Alaska Senate race to Conservative Joe Miller.
Gracious in defeat, Murkowski had this to say:
Joe Miller then issued his statement:
Fairbanks, Alaska. August 31, 2010 -- Earlier this evening, I received a call from Senator Murkowski honorably conceding the race. I want to thank her for a hard fought contest.
Tomorrow, the general election begins.
But tonight I'd like to reflect back on the amazing feat we accomplished together. We started from a handful of people knowing who we were and what we stood for to now being the Republican Party nominee.
I want to thank the many people that made it all possible. First the people of the Great State of Alaska. As I traveled throughout the state, I met and spoke with more and more people who shared the same concern that our nation has reached a critical point, and we needed to change course.
I would like to especially thank my wife and children who have sacrificed quite a bit during this primary campaign. I love you all, and you are the most important reason I decided to enter this race.
I need to thank others who provided vital support to this campaign including Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Mike Huckabee, and the Tea Party movement. I'd also like to thank current and former state officials including Lt. Governor Loren Leman, Senators Fred Dyson and John Coghill, and Representatives Wes Keller and Tammy Wilson. Additionally, I'd also like to thank national conservative leaders and our local voices here in Alaska, Dan Fagan, Glenn Biegel, and Michael Dukes. But without our incredible volunteer network, this victory could not have been possible. They worked day and night to ensure success in this race. Thank you!
Now is the time for all Alaskans to come together and reach out with our core message of taking power from the federal government and bringing it back home to the people. If we continue to allow the federal government to live beyond its means, we will all soon have to live below ours.
I look forward to the challenge of the general election ahead. I intend to continue to travel to every corner of Alaska talking to folks about the answers needed to get our nation back on track and keep the American dream alive for ourselves and our children.
Thank you once again to the great people of this wonderful state. I look forward to the campaign ahead. God bless you and God bless Alaska!
The Tea Party Express, which spent nearly $600,000 to help Joe with the race released this statement:
Tonight Senator Lisa Murkowski conceded the race for U.S. Senate to Conservative Republican Joe Miller. We here at the Tea Party Express couldn’t be more excited," said Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express.
We congratulate Joe Miller on winning the political shocker of the year. Joe Miller’s campaign based on a constitutional conservative platform resonated with the state’s Republican primary voters and should serve as a wake up call to the political establishments of both parties.
We also thank and congratulate Gov. Sarah Palin who first called our attention to this race. She was right in her proclamation that Joe Miller was a first-rate candidate who offered a vision for the future of this country and how to return America to the right track," said Amy Kremer.
Up next: Christine O’Donnell for U.S. Senate in Delaware," Kremer said.
The Tea Party Express spent nearly $600,000 in this race, with $400,000+ spent in the final two-weeks of the campaign, of which approximately $314,000 spent in the final week after a poll commissioned by the Tea Party Express showed Miller surging 25% in less than three-weeks.
Many in the press scoffed at our poll results at the time, believing they were skewed to favor Joe Miller, but they were not. We simply wanted to see if our efforts in the state were paying off or not," Kremer said.
The Tea Party Express has been on a win-streak in 2010, with election victories for Sharron Angle for U.S. Senate in Nevada, Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate in Florida, Mike Lee for U.S. Senate in Utah, Rand Paul for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, Scott Brown for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, and many others. The Tea Party Express has also been instrumental in the defeat or retirement of several liberal politicians including Congressman Bart Stupak, Senator Arlen Specter and Congressman Alan Mollohan.
Sarah Palin also congratulated Joe for his "miracle on ice" via Twitter:
Do you believe in miracles?! http://u.nu/72z2f Congratulations, @JoeWMiller! Thank you for your service, Sen. Murkowski. On to November!
Joe Miller's msg: Time for Alaskans to come together, reach out w/core message - take power from fed govt & bring it back home to the people
Folks this was a big deal. A very big deal. None of the "experts" thought Joe had a chance. Hell, the JournoList crew embarrassed themselves big time ranting how bad Joe was gonna get beat. All of the left wing attacks are just what you’d expect, but Slate’s Alexandra Gutierrez, who happens to be disgraced Washington Post columnist Dave Weigel’s girlfriend, really wins the prize for Palin Derangement Syndrome and sloppy writing.
I believe the new term is "wishcasting."
This has national implications in more ways than one. Obviously we are going to get a stand up guy as a United States Senator from Alaska. Someone who will be a reliable Constitutional Conservative. But something else. This, and several other elections, have all but weeded out many top level establishment Republicans. Many of those who have lost their primaries were top lieutenants of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been looked at as the heir apparent to the Majority Leader’s role. These shake ups have weakened McConnell’s power structure. It may be possible for a more assertive, and more Conservative Senator like Jim DeMint, or Tom Coburn to rise to the Leader’s position. That is a big deal, and a very good thing.
Then of course, there is Sarah Palin’s role in all of this. As the latest round of candidates she endorsed have stood for election, 100 percent of them won. According to the Washington Post’s official Palin Endorsements Tracker (Sarah is the ONLY person in America whose every endorsement is tracked by a major newspaper) she is at 21 wins (counting Joe Miller) and only 10 losses. That’s batting better than .500 and a much better record than anyone in politics.
Sarah hasn’t played it safe either. She has searched for solid, Conservative candidates and taken a chance on them, when others did the safe thing and stuck with the "safe" establishment candidate. All of those she has endorsed look to be big winners come November, as well.
As others are saying, this makes Sarah Palin the Number One Kingmaker in the Republican Party. She is almost singlehandedly rebuilding the Republican Party and the Republican brand. Come 2012 she will have a mighty coalition of solid Conservatives that will help propel her to the White House, should she choose to run.
This is also big news for the Tea Party movement, and Tea Party Express in particular. Tea Party Express has turned it’s group into a force to be reckoned with. They have become fund rasing machines, and have been able to organize boots on the ground when it counted. When the dust settles over the November elections, many of the huge gains the Republican Party will experience will be in large part due to the efforts of Tea Party Express, and all of the local Tea Party groups.
I’d also like to take a chance to congratulate Lisa Murkowski on her gracious concession. This was a hard fought battle, and it turned quite bitter, but in the end, Lisa showed class. Now everyone can concentrate on November. Thank you Lisa.
Finally, congratulations Joe Miller! You ran a smart campaign. You worked hard and got your message of responsibility out there. We look forward to having you work with your fellow Conservatives as you restore America to the founder’s intent of a Representative Republic based on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.