Tea Party Express Joins Palin in Opposing Murkowski

The influential political group Tea Party Express has sided with Sarah Palin in opposing the reelection bid of Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Anchorage Daily News reports:

The Tea Party Express is pledging to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost little-known Joe Miller's bid to defeat U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The group, funded through a California-based political action committee, said it will have staff in Alaska and make the race its top priority until the Aug. 24 primary.

The support could make a big difference for Miller, a Fairbanks lawyer and former state Republican Party official. The Tea Party Express, one of the most visible factions of the tea party movement, promises a wave of television and radio ads supporting Miller and opposing Murkowski in the coming weeks.

Palin endorsed Miller's primary bid two weeks ago, accusing Murkowski of being part of the "big government problem in Washington."

Tea Party Express, which has put on three nationwide bus tours, occupies an intriguing and important space in U.S. politics. It is the only bona fide Tea Party movement group that raises money and spends it on behalf of candidates. It was largely responsible for the victory of Sharron Angle in Nevada. Its chairman has, for some time, been on a public crusade against Islam as a religion of savagery. (See more on the group here.)

And it is Sarah Palin's Tea Party group of choice: she's appeared at two TPE rallies without charging a speaking fee, gaining inroads with the Tea Party crowd while raising the group's profile. Siding with Palin in Alaska--in a race that's not of such great national consequence, as is Angle run against the Senate majority leader--only makes sense, and it probably further cements the natural alliance with Palin.