Lisa Murkowski Concedes in Alaska's GOP Primary

Associated Press + More

It wasn't until the day before the primary that Murkowski did a "you lie"-style radio ad, called "Truth." But this was lost amid a barrage of negative Miller and tea party ads, and Murkowski's own ads, which continued to focus almost exclusively on her experience and record.

The de facto leader of the tea party movement is Palin, who took barbs at Murkowski on her Facebook page when urging Alaskans to elect Miller.

Both women have denied there's a feud between them, but there's certainly no love lost. Palin beat Frank Murkowski in the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2006. And when Palin quit as governor during the middle of her first term, Lisa Murkowski said she was "deeply disappointed that the governor has decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded."

Palin had initially donated to Murkowski's re-election fund, but afterward endorsed Miller. Palin's husband, Todd, attended Miller fundraisers.

And there's been continued sniping from both. In the last weekend before the election, Palin encouraged her Facebook fans to donate $30,000 for a critical last ad for Miller. "Let's raise $1,000 for each of the 30 years this senate seat has been locked in by the Murkowski family," she wrote.

On election night, Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News that Palin isn't keeping the promise she made when she resigned last summer — that she would use her national role to help Alaska.

"I think she's out for her own self-interest. I don't think she's out for Alaska's interest," Murkowski said.

Clive Thomas, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Southeast who has spoken extensively on the Palin phenomenon, said he doesn't know the source of the feud between Alaska's two most powerful politicians.

"Lisa is much of a more mainstream Republican that Sarah Palin has prided herself on not being," he said.

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