Politics & Government

Murkowski's last hope lies in Alaska's absentee ballots

ANCHORAGE — Joe Miller's lead over U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski slightly narrowed to 1,668 votes with all the election precincts counted Wednesday. A stunned Murkowski said she is not giving up hope until absentee ballots are counted starting next week.

"It ain't over yet, folks," Murkowski said at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage. "There are thousands of absentees that are yet to come in."

Miller was leading with 47,027 votes to 45,359 for Murkowski after the final precinct results came in late Wednesday afternoon. More than 16,000 absentees were requested from the Division of Elections and about 7,600 of them have come back so far.

Murkowski wouldn't discuss whether she'd pursue a third-party candidacy or independent write-in candidacy to keep the seat if she loses the Republican primary. "It is way, way, way too premature to even be talking about that," she said.

If Murkowski loses the primary, there is a possibility that she might able to run on the Libertarian ticket in the November general election. But that would require the Libertarian Senate candidate, David Haase, to agree to step aside, and for the Alaska Libertarian Party to agree to put Murkowski on the ballot.

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