Joe Miller issued a statement thanking Murkowski for a hard-fought contest and expressing appreciation to his network of supporters, as well as those high-profile personalities who endorsed him. He asked all Alaskans to unite behind him and his message:
Now is the time for all Alaskans to come together and reach out with our core message of taking power from the federal government and bringing it back home to the people. If we continue to allow the federal government to live beyond its means, we will all soon have to live below ours.
I look forward to the challenge of the general election ahead. I intend to continue to travel to every corner of Alaska talking to folks about the answers needed to get our nation back on track and keep the American dream alive for ourselves and our children.
ADN's Alaska Politics blog provided blow-by-blow documentation of the August 31st absentee vote count. The first batch of votes counted were from Anchorage, reducing Miller's lead from 1,668 votes to 1,325. But the next batch from Mat-Su increased Miller's lead back to 1,469 votes. Another batch of South Anchorage absentees narrowed Miller's lead back to 1,294 votes, but by shortly after 5:00 P.M. Alaska time, after absentees from Kenai, Southeast Alaska, and Fairbanks had been counted, Joe Miller's lead had lengthened to 1,469 votes. Murkowski had hoped to make much more progress in Southeast Alaska, but her support of a controversial Sealaska bill may have undermined her campaign there.
So with 15,700 of the estimated 25,510 overall absentee votes counted, and having reduced Miller's lead by only 199 additional votes, Senator Murkowski decided it was over, and chose to put an end to the uncertainty, swallow her pride and misgivings, and do the right thing.