|“We believe that we’ve won,’’ said Peter Shumlin, who was ahead by 190 votes. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)|
NEW YORK — In the final days before Alaska’s Republican Senate primary, longtime Republicans were bombarded with direct mail and automated phone calls urging them to oust yet another member of their party’s jilted establishment, Senator Lisa Murkowski.
“I was ready to tear the phone out of the wall,’’ said Dennis Fradley, former chief of staff to Murkowski’s father, Frank H. Murkowski, who held the Senate seat for 22 years before appointing his daughter to succeed him.
Yesterday, Murkowski’s Senate career was hanging by a thread, thanks to a last-minute push by her upstart opponent, Joe Miller, a former Fairbanks judge and a Tea Party movement favorite whose candidacy had been all but written off a few weeks ago.
Miller benefited from Tea Party activists, Mike Huckabee, and several other prominent conservatives who cast Murkowski as a Democratic sympathizer. In particular, Sarah Palin’s support proved to be influential.
Unlike Senator John McCain, a Republican who aggressively beat back attacks from his opponent, J.D. Hayworth, in Arizona, Murkowski chose to ignore her conservative opponent — until it was too late.
Miller holds a narrow lead over Murkowski of about 1,500 votes. At least 7,600 absentee ballots remain to be counted as well as an uncertain number of questioned or provisional ballots. The final result may not be known until early September.
The Murkowski campaign decided against running advertisements featuring the endorsement of former senator Ted Stevens, who remained popular even after his career ended amid scandal in 2008. Stevens died in a plane crash Aug. 9, and Murkowski said it would be respectful to hold the advertisements.
Inside the Beltway, a loss by Murkowski, a member of the Republican leadership, would be a staggering blow to the party’s Washington establishment, which has already seen candidates backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee tumble in Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, and Florida.
— New York Times
With all precincts reporting after Tuesday’s primary, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin led Senator Doug Racine by 190 votes and said he believed he had won. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz appeared a close third-place finish, 684 votes behind. Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie ran unopposed for the Republican nomination.
“We believe that we’ve won,’’ Shumlin said as Democrats gathered for a unity rally. “Obviously, we’re going to move forward on the basis that we’re going to take on Brian.’’
The winner in November will replace Republican Governor Jim Douglas, who is stepping down after four two-year terms.
A recount is possible.
— Associated Press
The couple went for lunch at Nancy’s, a popular harborfront restaurant in Oak Bluffs, and chatted with other vacationers.
“Good to see you guys, you doing all right?’’ the smiling president asked a crowd that cheered their arrival.
Michelle Obama commiserated with the onlookers over the lousy weather. “You dried off finally?’’ she asked.
After ordering at the counter, the president joked with
After lunch, the weather improved and Obama headed out to play golf in Vineyard Haven.
More than halfway through their 10-day Vineyard vacation, the first family has been riding out three days of rainstorms by reading books and playing board games at the 28-acre estate they are renting in Chilmark.
The president and his wife also went out to dinner Tuesday night at State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury with friends Valerie Jarrett, Eric and Cheryl Whitaker, and Vernon and Ann Jordan. They stayed for more than two hours. As the couple left the restaurant, the president told reporters waiting in a light drizzle: “I’m having a great time — doing a lot of reading.’’
His aides say he has also done a considerable amount of work. Yesterday, he held a conference call on the state of the economy with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Council of Economic Advisors chairwoman Christine Romer, and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.
Aides announced that Obama will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas, to meet with US troops on Tuesday and will deliver a speech on Iraq from the Oval Office at 8 p.m.
— Globe Staff and wire reports