Murkowski conceded the race to former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin about two hours after the polls closed and pledged to support her.
Palin, running a campaign that portrayed her as a reformer bucking the state's Republican establishment, will now face former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in November's general election.
With over two-thirds of the precincts reporting, Palin had 51.1 percent of the total. John Binkley, a Fairbanks businessman and former state senator, was in second place with 29.5 percent, and Murkowski trailed with about 19 percent.
Murkowski, who is the first Alaska governor to lose in the primary election since Democrat Bill Sheffield was defeated in 1986, angered Alaskans by appointing his daughter to fill out his U.S. Senate term, buying a state jet for his personal use and other actions that were considered ham-fisted.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
ALASKA GOVERNOR POUNDED
Frank Murkowski had been in the U.S. Senate for more than two decades before becoming governor of Alaska. And then everything went wrong. Tuesday was primary day in Alaska. Reuters reports:
Quite the beating, but it gives the GOP a slight chance to retain the governor's office in November. With Murkowski, that chance didn't exist.