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In Alaska, Murkowski trails Miller

From msnbc.com's Vaughn Ververs:
Incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski was thought to be a big favorite coming into Tuesday's primary against Sarah Palin-backed challenger Joe Miller. But with over half the vote in, Miller holds a slight lead over the incumbent, 52%-48% with a little over 2,000 votes separating the two. The race is seen as partly a test of Tea Party strength and partly a continuation of the grudge match between former governor Palin and the Murkowski family.

Palin defeated Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary just four years ago by campaigning on a platform of anti-corruption. Part of her argument was based on the fact that Murkowski, a sitting U.S. Senator when he won the governorship, appointed his daughter Lisa to replace him in Washington. The family feud has not abated since, with Palin taking an active role in supporting Miller's campaign -- endorsing early, encouraging Tea Party activism and recording robo-calls in the final days of the campaign.

Alaska is traditionally a state that values congressional representation, and especially, seniority. It was the latter argument that Murkowski made in the final days of this primary campaign.

Still a ways to go but one to watch through the wee hours.

*** UPDATE *** With all but nine precincts reporting early Wednesday, Miller's lead stands at just under 2000 votes.

When will we know the winner? The Anchorage Daily News reports this morning:

The final results of the race won't be known for over a week. 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.