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Lisa Murkowski’s lonely Alaska fight against the tea party

Is Lisa Murkowski becoming her own kind of 'mama grizzly' in Alaska? Or is her decision to fight the tea party as a write-in US Senate candidate a lost cause?

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U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R) of Alaska, climbs to the stage in preparation to announce her write-in campaign Friday in Anchorage. In August, she was defeated in the Republican primary by tea party favorite Joe Miller.

Michael Dinneen/AP

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Is Lisa Murkowski becoming her own kind of “mama grizzly” in Alaska? Or is the US senator’s decision to fight back against the tea party a lost cause at a time when most elected Republicans make at least a show of cozying up to the political insurgency?

Senator Murkowski has decided to run as a write-in candidate against Joe Miller, the tea party-backed candidate who thumped Murkowski in the GOP primary last month. Democrat Scott Adams is in the race too, but it’s really a grudge match against Miller, the tea party movement itself, and Sarah Palin (who backed Miller and with whom Murkowski has had run-ins before).

“The Alaska Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party Express, an outside extremist group,” Murkowski said a few days ago. (The California-based Tea Party Express spent nearly $600,000 on Miller’s primary campaign to oust Murkowski. It also helped finance Christine O’Donnell’s GOP primary win over Mike Castle in Delaware this week.)

Can Murkowski pull it off? The odds are against her. Most write-in efforts go nowhere. Some analysts suggest she could split the Republican vote, handing the Senate seat to Democrat Adams.

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