Says John Dickerson: "The national lesson from the primaries today is clear: a;sdlfk jp9r;tyh##"
Hewing to my "good analysis is victory agnostic" nostrum, here's what I'm taking away from a night of surprises and triumphs.
One: J.D. Hayworth was a wannabe insurgent who was toppled by his own arrogance. He was too smooth for a year where anyone who sounds like a politician...really, anyone who sounds fairly coherent and talks in crisp, reasonable-sounding, consultant-approved sound bites...is suspect, particularly for Republicans.
Two: Show me a low turnout primary election, and I will raise you polling that just does not capture likely voter enthusiasm swings. But turnout in Alaska was high --- higher, in fact, than expected. I've always wondered how you poll Alaska anyway, and the tightness of the race suggests that models up there aren't working very well. BTW: it's likely that a parental notification ballot initiative drove conservatives to the polls in Alaska, boosting Joe Miller, a Gulf War vet and ally of Sarah Palin's, to striking distance and possible victory over incumbent Lisa Murkowski.
Three: It is fairly clear that the anti-establishment / anti-Washington / pro-radical revolution plankton are feeding more off Republicans than off Democrats. As the year has unfolded, it has become easier and easier for formerly fringe candidates to find funding sources, get key "outsider" endorsements and shock complacent frontrunners. When it comes to the Tea Party factor, remember: about issues it ain't. Bill McCollum was one of the attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against Obama's health care reform bill. He is as conservative as a Blackberry at an Apple convention. But he has ties to the state's now-discredited Republican establishment (think of the indictment of the former party chairman) and his avuncular, amiable, comfortable-as-a-leather shoe style just doesn't fit with the times. Rick Scott didn't need the money, but the Tea Party Express helped him build a volunteer base. In Alaska, the same group ponied up $500,000 to help Miller (probably) defeat an incumbent U.S. senator.