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Murkowski Still has an Option

August 26, 2010    Content provided by DDC Advocacy

It's going to be awhile before the outcome of the Alaska Republican Senatorial primary becomes final. All Election Day ballots have now been tabulated and GOP challenger Joe Miller leads Sen. Lisa Murkowski by 1,668 votes (47,027 to 45,359), but the counting process is not over. More than 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and approximately 7,600 have been returned but not yet counted. Under Alaska law, the absentee ballots must be post-marked on or before Election Day but can be received within ten days after if mailed domestically, and up to 15 days if sent from abroad. The Division of Elections has scheduled absentee ballot counting for August 31, September 3, and September 8th, so no winner will be certified until all absentee ballots are finally counted. It is probable that Miller will hold the lead through final tabulations.

This leaves Murkowski with only one option to access the ballot for the general election. Since the deadline to file as an Independent has passed, the Libertarian Party, the only other entity with a qualified general election candidate, could legally replace their now-official nominee, David Haase, with Lisa Murkowski. Apparently discussions are proceeding to entertain such a move. It is reported that Murkowski has not ruled out trying such a maneuver and the Libertarian Party chairman may be open to the idea. The Democrats nominated Scott McAdams, the Mayor of Sitka. In a three-way race, he could become a factor and the party intends to make a bid for the seat should such a situation occur. At least for the time being, add Alaska to the list of competitive 2010 Senate races.

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