The Other McCain

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ALASKA SENATE COUNTDOWN TODAY UPDATE: MURKOWSKI CONCEDES!

Posted on | August 31, 2010 | 159 Comments

ANCHORAGE, Alaska
UPDATE Midnight ET (4 p.m. local) The AOSHQ flaming skull dipped in pudding? Where’s Norah O’Donnell now that we need her?

UPDATE 11 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local) — It’s over. I just returned to Joe Miller campaign HQ after attending Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s concession speech on the other side of town. I fed live audio to Melissa Clouthier via cell phone, so she Tweeted the speech as it happened:

Based where we are right now, I don’t see a scenario where the primary will turn out in my favor. . . . For the good of the state of [Alaska], I’m conceding the race for Senator. . . . We stayed on the high road.”

I’m now racing deadline for The American Spectator, so that should be it for now.

Celebrate, America: IT’S MILLER TIME!

UPDATE 11:25 p.m. ET (7:25 p.m. local): MALKIN-LANCHE!

And let me ask readers: After I spent last night in a fleabag motel near the airport, don’t you think I deserve a night in the Sheraton downtown? Hit the freaking tip jar!

UPDATE 8:50 p.m. ET (4:50 p.m. local) — Absenttes in Fairbanks are reported to be good news for Joe Miller. Anchorage talk-radio host Dan Fagan on 750 KFQD just said that the votes remaining to be counted would have to break 55% for Lisa Murkowski in order for her to win: “That’s not going to happen . . . . It’s over.”

Joe Miller campaign headquarters, where a delivery of pudding is expected to arrive momentarily.

Momma O’s is famed for its fried halibut sandwiches.

Miller volunteer SemperVigilo drives the “JoeMobile.”

UPDATE 8 p.m. ET (4 p.m. local)Dan Riehl and Big Government were first to break this, and other sources here in Anchorage are also reporting that Lisa Murkowski is expected to concede the GOP nomination to Joe Miller in a few hours.

UPDATE 8:25 p.m. ET (4:25 p.m. local) – More numbers reporting, now the margin is 1,210 votes.

7:40 p.m. ET (3:40 p.m. local) — Joe Miller is now being interviewed live on the Mark Levin show.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. local) — OK, it turns out that that folks at Joe Miller campaign HQ had been misinformed about the count in districts 13-16. I just interviewed Gail Fenumiai of the Alaska Division of Elections, who explained that absentee ballots (and early votes) were counted in those Mat-Su districts today. It was the questioned ballots that weren’t counted, and those will be counted Friday.

As of now, Miller leads by 1,292 votes. We don’t know if numbers from Juneau are included in this total. They’ve just started counting in Fairbanks. Fenumiai said she expects the online totals for today’s votes to be more or less complete by “six-ish” — i.e., 10 p.m. ET.

The summary at this point: Chill out. At this point, we’re still about three hours away from knowing what the complete picture is today. However, if there are any Ace of Spades readers in Anchorage, please drop off a six-pack of Jello vanilla pudding cups at the Miller campaign HQ on Northern Lights Boulevard.

UPDATE 5:55 p.m. ET (1:55 p.m. local) — While we were at lunch, the margin shifted again. Now, Joe Miller leads by 1,294 votes. I’m told that this reflects early votes and questioned ballots from the Wasilla-Palmer area.

I’m told that districts 13 through 16  will only count questioned and early ballots today, while absentees there won’t be counted until tomorrow.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m. ET (2:10 p.m. local) — Just confirmed with Miller campaign manager Robert Campbell: Absentee ballots in districts 13-16 — Miller-Palmer area, aka the Mat-Su Valley — will not be counted until Wednesday. So today’s totals, with Lisa Murkowski gaining slightly, do not reflect the final outcome in those districts, generally considered a Miller stronghold.

4:35 p.m. ET (12:35 p.m. local) — Joe Miller has just increased his lead over Lisa Murkowski to 1,460 after further counting of absentee ballots in the GOP Senate primary.

Now linked at Conservatives for Palin — thanks! — and also at Riehl World View, where Dan also reports further accusations of shenanigans.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m. ET (12:25 p.m. local time) — “We’re thinking it will be a good day at the end of the day,” Joe Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto says in reaction to preliminary absentee ballot count from Anchorage:

UPDATE 4:05 p.m. (12:05 p.m. local) — Things are very busy at Miller campaign HQ, about three blocks away from the Elections Division office. Spoke briefly to campaign manager Robert Campbell and interviewed campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto and hope to have video in a few minutes.

Thanks for the Ace-o-Lanche — don’t panic, Ace. “So far, it looks pretty good for us,” as one source close to the campaign just said. The Anchorage Daily News is also blogging the results live.

Two friendly ladies named Mary staff the front desk at Joe Miller campaign HQ.

Linked by Brian O’Connor at Red Dog Report. Thanks!

UPDATE 3:25 p.m. ET (11:25 a.m. local) — After preliminary count of absentee ballots from Anchorage division, Joe Miller leads by a 1,325-vote margin, with 48,051 votes to 46726 for Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Although this narrows Miller’s lead from 1,668 in Election Day results, it is being interpreted as good news by the Miller campaign, because Anchorage had generally leaned toward Murkowski. Miller’s stronghold is in the Mat-Su Valley, where preliminary results of the absentee ballot count will be reported later today.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m. ET (11:10 a.m. local time) — Preliminary totals for absentee ballots from Anchorage should be available within the hour, according to Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections.

The absentee count began at 9 a.m. in Anchorage, where five clerks were operating Accu-Vote optical scanners at the Election Divisions headquarters. On the other side of the same room, separated by a partition wall, five more clerks were reviewing “questioned” ballots. Officials and volunteers representing both candidates in the GOP primary — Sen. Lisa Murkowski and challenger Joe Miller — were observing the count.

Meanwhile, the absentee count began at 10 a.m. local time in the Mat-Su Valley district office, while Juneau is scheduled to begin counting at 1 p.m. and the count begins in Fairbanks at 3 p.m.

Soon to be the World’s Most Famous Ballot-Counters operate the Accu-Vote optical scanners at the Elections Division office in Anchorage.

Gail Fenumiai of the Alaska Division of Elections briefs reporters covering the absentee ballot count in Anchorage.

PREVIOUSLY: OK, I just checked. It’s 2.7 miles from my cheap motel near the airport to the Division of Elections office downtown. where they start counting absentee ballots at 9 a.m. (1 p.m. ET). The Division of Elections is less than half a mile from the Joe Miller campaign headquarters. Expect updates throughout the day.

According to the Associated Press, they’ll only be counting about half the remaining ballots today:

Nearly 11,000 absentee ballots are scheduled to be counted Tuesday in Alaska with the outcome of the Republican primary in the U.S. Senate race in the balance.
The Alaska Division of Elections lists 10,850 absentee ballots for the count starting Tuesday morning in Anchorage and Wasilla and Tuesday afternoon in Fairbanks and Juneau.
Another 14,000 ballots still outstanding presumably will be counted Friday and Sept. 8.

Got to take a quick shower and pack. Here’s the front page of today’s Anchorage Daily News:

PREVIOUSLY:

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