I'm not likely to get off to a fast start blogging on Wednesday morning because I'm still up, watching the primary election returns coming in from the suddenly thrilling Alaska GOP Senate primary. As I write this, Lisa Murkowski -- that's Senator Murkowski, of course -- is 2300 votes behind Tea Party/Sarah Palin candidate Joe Miller. Who is tweeting the results. I'm not going to make it to the bitter end, but with 51% of the votes counted, it's hard for me to give up and go to sleep.
Mind you, I have no candidate in this race, not even a real rooting interest one way or another. I will agree with Dave Weigel (also up, and tweeting up a storm): "Thinking of the 100 profiles of Alvin Greene that were written while Joe Miller was ignored." Not that Greene, at least in my opinion, should have been ignored; he's a great story, too! On the other hand, Alvin Greene isn't going to be a United States Senator, and it appears as I write this that Joe Miller might (there's some speculation that the remaining ballots might tilt Murkowski's way; I suppose most of everyone who reads this will already know the answer to that).
What else...if Murkowski loses, it's a significant hit to the tiny group of GOP women in Congress (she's 25% of all GOP women in the Senate), a group that doesn't stand to get much, if any, larger. Trying to remember....there are viable female GOP candidates in CA and NV...is that it? Checking...ah, CT, of course, and NH, so four viable women, none odds on to win. If Miller wins, it will be seen as a tremendous victory for Tea Partiers and Palin, obviously. I have no idea whether Palin's efforts mattered, but it's certainly plausible that she made a large difference (endorsements matter more in primaries, although presumably less in a two-person contest involving an incumbent. My guess? The Murkowski name turned out to be tainted, perhaps beyond repair. Plus the recession. I'm guessing Palin was not a major factor. But it's no question about it just a guess, and as I said it's not implausible that her endorsement could actually matter a fair amount in this situation, even though I'm guessing it didn't). At any rate, whether Palin did or not matter a lot the national press would give her credit, and that's useful, too. That is, if Miller actually wins; if Murkowski survives, then mostly everyone will ignore the whole thing.
Meanwhile, what I really want to say (again) is just how much I love elections. Every part of them. I love watching the returns, whether on TV, or some secretary of state web site, or this time around mostly via Twitter. Everything about Election Day is just one big blast of patriotism for me, and late-night ballot counting is just patriotism overtime.
Still, I should probably get at least a bit of sleep, so with one more check -- 66% of precincts in, Miller creeping ahead a bit more -- I think I'll call it a night. As Andy Partridge said (albeit in full cynical mode), "ain't democracy wonderful?"