Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski ousted in a humiliating defeat to Sarah PalinAugust 24, 2006
With 436 precincts out of 439 reporting, Sarah Palin, a former Wasilla mayor, won the GOP primary with 51 percent of the vote. Former state legislator John Binkley came in second with 30 percent. Murkowski pulled just 19 percent of the vote which is "literally almost unprecedented for someone who is not indicted," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Popular opinion turned on Murkowski after missteps that constantly thrust him into battle with his political opponents and his own Republican-led Legislature, including: appointing his daughter to his U.S. Senate seat, unpopular budget cuts his first year and a highly publicized fight to buy a state jet. The more Alaskans got to see of Murkowski the less they liked him.
Critics have questioned Murkowski's leadership skills, his endless ethical lapses, and his secret pipeline proposal with the three largest oil companies in Alaska behind the backs of state legislators.
It is expected that Murkowski will retire when his term is up in November.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman issued the following statement regarding Sarah Palin's primary election victory for Governor of Alaska:
"Sarah Palin's candidacy is focused on bringing a new level of effectiveness to state government and her results oriented approach will make her an excellent Governor. Sarah's commitment to keeping taxes low and supporting the state's resource and tourism-based economy will benefit Alaskan citizens. Sarah Palin is the candidate for the right type of reform in Alaska and the Republican Party stands firmly behind her nomination for Governor."
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