At present, with all 438 precincts counted, Joe Miller clings to a 1.8 percent lead over Lisa Murkowski. There remain around 16,000 absentee ballots to be counted; these counts will occur on August 31st, September 3rd, and September 8th. Because absentee ballots reversed Ted Stevens' lead and propelled Mark Begich to victory in 2008, there's the concern absentee ballots could likewise propel Murkowski to victory as well, although with fewer absentee ballots this time, the likelihood of a reversal is much less. It looks like Joe Miller is about to become the next Senator from Alaska. Miller himself appears to be optimistic; TPMDC reports that he's sent out e-mails to his supporters asking for contributions to help him go the rest of the way.
A Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article gives a geographic overview. Returns indicate that Joe Miller was strongest in Greater Fairbanks, the Mat-Su Valley, and the Kenai Peninsula, while Lisa Murkowski dominated in most of Anchorage, Southeast Alaska, and Bush Alaska. This almost mirrors the geographical breakdown provided in the recent NSON poll.
Because Joe Miller was in the process of driving from Anchorage back to Fairbanks on August 25th, it was not feasible for him to immediately give any media interviews, which rebuts the false insinuation by Daily Kos that Miller was somehow deliberately "ducking the media". But upon his return, he posted the following statement on his official campaign website:
Joe Miller, candidate for United States Senate from Alaska, said today, "I'm very pleased with last night's election results and so grateful to the people of Alaska for their support, including the army of volunteers that made this all possible. We still have to await the absentee ballot count, but if trends hold, it's on to the general election, where we intend to work just as hard to communicate our message to the people of Alaska. We must return to limited government if we are to restore our personal freedom and the promise of the American dream for future generations..."
Newsmax reports that they have interviewed Joe Miller. In a story dated late on August 25th, the focus of the interview was not only upon his success at the polls, but also upon America's economy, the national debt, and the possible national security implications. Miller insists that America has already gone bankrupt, only we don't know it yet. "Well, when you have the Chinese buying less debt, when you have a Chinese bond-rating agency lowing the credit worthiness of our debt, when you have according to recent reports up to as much as $130 trillion in future unfunded obligations, and well over $13.3 trillion in absolute debt, nearing 100 percent debt-to-GDP, I don't think there's any other way to describe it but bankrupt".
I absolutely agree with Joe Miller on this issue, which is a reason why he and others should be skeptical of any efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts without imposing matching spending cuts. Tax cuts without spending cuts does NOT decrease debt. As long as conventional wisdom holds that debt is good, we will NOT extract ourselves from financial vulnerability.
In addition, the fact that China holds so much of our debt has potentially adverse implications upon our national security. The present Chinese government has no interest in using its holdings of our debt to exercise political blackmail upon us. But there's no guarantee that a future Chinese government more hostile to the United States won't do so. How would someone like Barack Obama, who bowed from the waist to the Chinese leader during a state visit, react to political blackmail from China?
Miller also attributed his success to the fact that "average Alaskans of all stripes [are] embracing the idea that government needs to be limited by the Constitution, and recognizing that the era of the entitlement state is over, and that Alaskans want to get control of their destiny, control of their state."
I do NOT regret my vote for Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday despite her ideological deficiencies; she showed she was willing to compromise by moving back to the right on some important issues, and she's also had a better track record of reaching out to all Alaskans. But if the election becomes certified in Joe Miller's favor, I intend to support him and vote for him in November. Miller has proven he can compete against the neocon establishment despite long odds against him.
The Bottom Line: Regardless of the final outcome, Joe Miller has proven himself to be a winner.