MURKOWSKI CONCEDES, EXTREMIST WINS ALASKA PRIMARY…. Eight days ago, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was in terrific shape. She was poised to easily win a GOP primary against a bizarre opponent, and was considered a lock to win a third term in November. Already a member of her party’s Senate leadership team, Murkowski’s future was bright.

As of this morning, she’s finished.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday night conceded the Republican primary election to Joe Miller, the tea party backed challenger who maintained his Election Day lead after thousands of additional absentee and other ballots were counted through the day.

“We know that we have outstanding votes to count in the primary but based on where we are right now I don’t see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor. And that is a reality that is before me at this time,” Murkowski said in a news conference broadcast live over statewide television from her campaign headquarters in Anchorage.

Murkowski did not endorse Miller in her concession speech. She took no questions.

Miller will face Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) in November. A poll this week showed Miller with the early edge, though his lead was in the single digits (47% to 39%) in this traditionally “red” state.

In a year in which the Republican base has launched a striking ideological purge, Murkowski’s defeat is the most shocking, in large part because few saw it coming. Sen. Bob Bennett (R) lost in Utah, but had been in trouble for months. The same goes for Rep. Bob Inglis (R) in South Carolina. When GOP activists drove Florida’s Charlie Crist and Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter out of the party altogether, it came after a long period of Republican consternation with their moderation.

But Murkowski wasn’t a moderate. She was one of a handful of Senate Republicans who Democrats considered at least somewhat approachable when it came to finding areas of common ground, and in 2010, that’s apparently enough to cost a lawmaker a seat.

As for Miller, the frontrunner to be an actual U.S. senator next year, he’s poised to be among the most radical lawmakers to serve in the chamber in decades. In addition to the usual nonsense — Miller has birther tendencies, demands the elimination of all abortion rights (even in cases of rape or incest), wants to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, rejects global warming science, and is eyeing the elimination of the Department of Education — he also believes unemployment benefits, Social Security, and Medicare are both wrong and unconstitutional. Miller also hopes to see Republicans shut down the government next year.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.