Tea Party candidates have been accused of hurting Republican chances in some races, but in ousting Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski it’s “on much firmer tactical ground,” writes Nate Silver of the New York Times. Murkowski’s not an “authentically moderate senator such as Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins,” she’s pretty darn moderate by Alaskan standards. The same, incidentally, could be said of the defeated Bob Bennett, who hails from deep-red Utah.
If Joe Miller wins in Alaska and Mike Lee in Utah, “Republicans will have replaced somewhat conservative senators with very conservative ones without having put much at risk,” Silver reasons. “In an election cycle that is shaping up to be an outstanding one for Republicans, this is a healthy risk to take.” The RNC released a poll Monday showing Miller with a 16-point lead in the general election, the Washington Post notes, as a kind of warning to Democrats to spend their resources elsewhere.