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Joe Miller Leads Lisa Murkowski: Alaska GOP Primary Still Too Close To Call

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hide captionWith almost all votes counted in yesterday's Alaska Republican primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) trails her opponent, attorney Joe Miller, by fewer than 2,000 votes.

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

With 429 of 438 precincts reporting, attorney Joe Miller leads incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski by 1,960 votes in the Alaska Republican primary.

The latest tally:
Miller: 45,909 (51.09 percent)
Murkowski: 43,949 (48.91 percent)

As the Anchorage Daily News reports, Murkowski — whose father appointed her to the U.S. Senate in 2002, when he became Alaska's governor — "is battling for her political life" against Miller, who was endorsed by several of the Tea Party's most-prominent proponents and spokespersons, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and a handful of conservative talk radio hosts.

"I believe Joe is the better choice for Alaskans," Palin said. "Joe has the right values; he is ready to help lead the greatest state in our exceptional nation; he is Alaska's true Commonsense Conservative choice, and I'll be proud to vote for him for the United States Senate."

At her campaign headquarters last night, Murkowski criticized Palin: "I think she's out for her own self interest," she said. "I don't think she's out for Alaska's interest."

According to the the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "the Tea Party Express pledged to support Miller early on and pumped about a half-million dollars worth of advertising into Alaska airwaves ahead of the election."

As the candidates wait for the results from the remaining precincts to come in, the Murkowski campaign remains optimistic.

"We knew the race was going to be tight," the senator's campaign spokesman said. "The rural areas have yet to come in and we know Sen. Murkowski is going to be very strong in the rural areas."

"The final results of the race won't be known for over a week," the Daily News reports:

The Alaska Division of Elections said over 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and as of Monday night 7,600 had been returned. The first count of absentees will be next Tuesday and there will be two subsequent counts as the absentee votes trickle in on Sept. 3 and on Sept. 8.

In the general election, the winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Scott McAdams.

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