There are still a few precincts to be counted in Alaska but it looks as though powerful incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski will lose to political novice Joe Miller. 2010 continues to surprise as establishment candidates run for their political lives. Besides Murkowski, Bill McCollum, the Attorney General of Florida lost the Republican primary to newcomer Rick Scott. In a normal year, Murkowski and McCollum would have had no problems in their respective primaries on their way to the general election but this year is shaping up to be the year of the challenger.
Sarah Palin endorsed Miller, who ran to the right of Murkowski and was given no chance to win the election. Palin defeated Murkowski's father Frank in the 2006 GOP primary for governor and there's still bad blood between the two Republican heavyweights. Frank Murkowski was a US Senator from 1980-2002 and won the Alaska governor's race that year and then appointed his daughter to his Senate seat. That drew charges of nepotism but Lisa was able to win a full term in 2004. However, her dad's term as Alaska's governor was disatrous which led to the insurgent Sarah Palin challenging and beating him for the 2006 GOP governor's nomination. Many didn't give Palin much of a chance in the general election that year but the rest, as we say, is history.
In 1816, 2/3 of the Congress was thrown out by the voters after they had voted themselves a raise. This year three Senators have already lost their primaries and one safe Democratic seat (Massachusetts) turned over in January. 15 senators are either retiring this year or have already lost their primary and another 7 are in the fight for their lives. It looks as if at least 20% of the Senate will turn over this year. In 2012 I count at least 19 more contested races and we don't know how many others will die or retire as well. It is possible that 40% of the Senate could turnover in the next two elections. In the House this year about 90 seats are being contested (about 20%) and there will be other retirements as well in November and in 2012. In short, the House and Senate will look dramatically different in January 2011 and will probably be unrecognizable in January 2013.