Vote Counting in Alaska Gives Murkowski a Small Boost

Alaska's Division of Elections is furiously counting 24,000 outstanding ballots in order to determine the winner of its Republican Senate primary. After the initial count last week, Tea Party candidate Joe Miller led current Sen. Lisa Murkowski by 1,668 votes. After Murkowski won 57 percent of the first batch of votes counted this morning, Miller's lead shrank to 1,325.

The state is hoping to count a total of 15,000 ballots today, which means that Murkowski should have a good sense of her prospects by day's end. She needs about 57 percent of the outstanding ballots to win, so if she maintains her momentum, she may have a shot. That said, most of the votes counted this morning came from the Anchorage area, where Murkowski is particularly popular. The largest chunk of ballots will come from southeast Alaska, which she won last Tuesday--but not by much. Miller, meanwhile, will be watching for absentee numbers from the Fairbanks and Mat-Su Valley regions, which he won by wide margins. 

Accusations have flown across the state during the past week, with Miller's campaign accusing Murkowski's of vote tampering and pressuring the National Republican Senatorial Committee to retract the legal aid it has offered Murkowski.

A resurrection via vote-count is pretty much the only option Murkowski has left. Even though Murkowski has denied rumors that she's considering a third-party run, Alaska's Libertarian Party announced yesterday that they would not allow her to run on their ballot, were she to ask (which she hasn't). The Alaska Independence Party, which has previously provided trounced Republicans with a third-party avenue, did not file for a Senate candidate and so cannot sponsor Murkowski. Her only non-Republican option would be to run as a write-in candidate, a nearly impossible feat.

UPDATE: The Mat-Su Valley ballots have been counted, upping Miller's lead to 1,460 votes.

UPDATE 2: Miller's lead has dropped to 1,294 votes, or 1.32 percent. Contested ballots from the Mat-Su Valley will not be counted until Friday.  

Presented by

Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Politics

Just In