| The latest count:
438 of 438 Precincts Reporting
Seven more precincts have been counted, leaving just two precincts (and a load of absentees) outstanding, and Murkowski has cut the deficit to 1,492 votes from around the 2,000 mark. That gives the Murkowski camp a bit of hope, however faint, that the absentees could be enough to tip this thing back to her.
If Miller ends up winning and Murkowski wants to explore her third-party options, well, it seems that it would have to be Libertarian or bust:
Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai told me it's too late for Murkowski to file to have her name appear on the ballot as an independent, so that would need to be a write-in effort. There is a Libertarian candidate in the race, Frederick Haase, who could choose to step down. The Libertarian Party could then select a replacement for him on the ballot.
There is no other third party candidate in the U.S. Senate race, so Libertarian would be the only option for Murkowski to join a new party for a run.
And as for Democratic nominee (and Sitka mayor) Scott McAdams, he announced today on a conference call organized by the Alaska Democratic Party that he will not be stepping aside for another candidate.
UPDATE: 100% is now in, and Miller netted a couple hundred extra votes. Also, we can put the Tony Knowles rumors to bed:
Knowles, however, told POLITICO Wednesday that he's not interested in running for Senate again.
"I do not want to run for the office of Senate again," said Knowles, who lost to Murkowski by a slim margin in her first bid for a full term in 2004. She had been appointed to the seat in 2002 by her father, then-GOP Gov. Frank Murkowski, a move that generated a considerable amount of controversy at the time.
"All of the deadlines are passed. That was a decision that had to be made by the 1st of June," Knowles said. "But am I interested in running? No."