Alaska Senate Primary Becomes Test Of Tea Party Strength

08/24/2010 09:57 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska's U.S. Senate race promises to be the first real test of the tea party movement's political power in the state.

In Tuesday's GOP primary, self-described "constitutional conservative" Joe Miller hopes to tap into frustrations with Washington and upset incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a better-known, better-financed candidate he's painted as too liberal and part of the problem.

He's gotten high-profile support, from Sarah Palin and the California-based Tea Party Express, but this is a state that relies heavily on the federal government to run.

Murkowski says her seniority and roles on powerful committees puts herself in a strong position to ensure Alaskans' voices are heard. She also says she shares voters' frustrations and is fighting to do something about it.

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