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Lisa Murkowski of Alaska bows out, is seventh losing incumbent

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska concedes to Joe Miller in Alaska's Aug. 24 primary. Lisa Murkowski joins six other congressional incumbents who lost in their party's primaries.

By Staff writer / September 1, 2010

Sen. Lisa Murkowski gives her concession speech on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska. Murkowski has conceded her Senate primary race to Joe Miller.

Dan Joling/AP

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Washington

In a bow to the seemingly inevitable, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has conceded defeat to her “tea party”-backed rival, lawyer Joe Miller, in Alaska’s Aug. 24 primary.

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The close race, which was not foreseen in polls, sat in suspension for a week as absentee, early, and contested ballots were counted. By Aug. 31, Senator Murkowski had made up some ground against her Sarah Palin-endorsed opponent, but, she concluded, not enough to keep fighting.

“Based on where we are right now, I don’t see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor,” Murkowski said Tuesday evening in her concession remarks.

Murkowski joins two other senators – Robert Bennett (R) of Utah and Arlen Specter (D) of Pennsylvania – and four House members in defeat during the 2010 primary season. Every race has its own internal dynamic, but widespread voter dissatisfaction with the Washington “establishment” has clearly been on display. Outsider, conservative tea-party backed candidates also beat insider GOP favorites in the Kentucky and Nevada Senate primaries. In Florida, conservative Marco Rubio effectively chased his moderate GOP Senate opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist (I), out of the party before the primary.

Murkowski’s defeat also challenges the notion that 2010 will be the Year of the Republican Woman. True, several high-profile GOP women are making competitive bids for major office, including Meg Whitman for California governor, Carly Fiorina for Senate in California, Nikki Haley for South Carolina governor, Sharron Angle for Senate in Nevada, Linda McMahon for Senate in Connecticut, and Kelly Ayotte for Senate in New Hampshire.

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