Tea Party group backing Sen. Murkowski opponent

The Tea Party Express is backing attorney Joe Miller in his primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The group also said it's committing significant financial resources to the race. 

"The total expenditures by the Tea Party Express in Alaska are expected to reach well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," the group said in a statement. The Tea Party Express called Miller's campaign "its top priority between now and the August 24th Alaska primary," and said it plans to "launch a wave of TV and radio ads supporting Miller and opposing Murkowski in the coming weeks." 

The political undercurrent there is the bad blood between former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a favorite of the Tea Party Express, and the Murkowskis. Palin defeated former Gov. Frank Murkowski in a 2006 primary and has been highly critical of his daughter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. There was speculation Palin might challenge Murkowski, but she endorsed Miller in early June. 

The Tea Party Express has made its presence known in several primaries this cycle. It spent more than half a million dollars backing Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada in her successful bid for the GOP nomination. The group also backed Republican Rand Paul in his race for the Kentucky Senate nomination over the party's favored candidate. And the group was influential in defeating Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) in the Utah nominating process.