Miller Stays Ahead; Murkowski Waiting on Absentee Ballots

Photo and Story by Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

With all but two precincts reporting, Joe Miller is holding his lead in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Less than 1,500 votes separate him from incumbent Lisa Murkowski. The Division of Elections says it has at least 7,600 absentee ballots to count, a process that will begin next Tuesday and continue through early September. Murkowski was quiet last night as the results were coming in, but she spoke briefly about the vote count this morning.

Murkowski talked at her campaign headquarters in Anchorage, standing with her two teenage sons and her husband, Verne Martell.  She said she’s optimistic the absentee ballots will put her on top.

Murkowski says she hasn’t had much time to consider what went wrong for her campaign last night. She says there will be plenty of time for speculating later on, but right now, she isn’t looking back with any regrets.

Despite lots of speculation on what Murkowski may do if she loses the election, she says it’s premature to talk about that with thousands of absentee ballots yet to count. And her campaign manager, John Bitney says he’s hoping the work the campaign did getting the message out on absentee voting will pay off.

Meanwhile, Joe Miller was mostly quiet today on his surprise success at drawing primary votes.

Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai says once the final vote tally is in, one of the candidates can request a recount. An automatic recount will happen only if the race is tied.

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