Alaska Surprise, Florida Squeeze Play and Anti-Incumbency Re-Examined

Aug 25, 2010 11:40am

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports:

Tune into Top Line at noon, when we'll have a dueling strategist session with Doug Heye of the RNC and Brad Woodhouse of the DNC.

Meantime, here’s a look at our political radar this Wednesday:

We’re up to the minute with Alaska, where the fight is not over, but Tea Party and Sarah Palin-backed lawyer Joe Miller has a narrow lead over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

And Political Director Amy Walter has insights on Charlie Crist in Florida – can he pull off the ultimate squeeze play? 

Later today we’ll have an after-action on what happened in Alaska and waiting to see if Murkowski can narrow Miller’s lead with rural and absentee votes.

Now for some thoughts on anti-incumbency, a theory that has been examined and re-examined this year, including by us, when we wondered if maybe the national mood was anti-appropriator instead.

Results from Tuesday’s primary add a little fuel to the anti-incumbency argument, but suggest it is most potent among Republicans, where incumbent casualties have been the worst.

Sen. Bob Bennett lost first in Utah. Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties rather than lose to Republican Pat Toomey – Specter lost anyway, running as a Democrat.

Democratic incumbents have suffered too. But in their big ticket races, incumbents won. Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Michael Bennet of Colorado withstood challenges from the left. And Rep. Kendrick Meet, D-Fla, who had the backing of establishment Democrats, won in Florida over a billionaire challenger.

As with any rule, there are exceptions. Sen. John McCain easily survived his primary Tuesday. But he also drifted right and sacrificed some of the Maverick brand that had defined his political career. 

And we’re taking a look at polling. There have been a number of surprising results this election.

Take a look at the election map here.

Keep up with our politics coverage over on the politics page at

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