While the Murkowski-Miller results are not yet finalized, it's looking pretty certain that the Tea Party has pulled off yet another upset of an established Republican candidate. Joe Miller has yet to be defined for a national audience; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is already painting him as a radical "extremist" who wants to phase out Social Security and Medicare, but it's not yet clear whether Miller will alienate middle-of-the-road Alaska Republicans.
If so, the Senate seat could be a prime pick-up opportunity for Democrats. There's just one problem: they don't have a viable nominee. Scott McAdams, who won the party's nomination yesterday, is the mayor of Sitka, a 9,000-person town in southeast Alaska. That's pretty much all anyone knows about him. No polling has been conducted, no major profiles have been written -- McAdams is a question mark.
Now that the seat might actually be in play, however, the Alaska Democratic Party could make a rapid revision to its game plan, replacing McAdams with a candidate of their choosing. The party's rules allow for it to replace a nominee, and they've done it before.
One likely option? Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles. The 67-year-old Democrat served from 1994 to 2002 but could not run again because of term limits. In 2004, he challenged Lisa Murkowski for Senate and lost. In 2006, he lost to Palin for governor (he was allowed to run for a third term if it was not consecutive to his prior two).