Oops: Sen. Lisa Murkowski's 'Comfortable Lead Heading Into the Primary' Not Really Panning Out

Reporter Damien Cave assumed too much in his election-night rundown of the primary races in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska, which appeared in Wednesday morning's paper, New York Late Edition: "Establishment Candidates Prevail in Primaries, With Exceptions."

But one particular "exception" eluded Cave's analysis - Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller, who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a Republican primary race in Alaska. Cave wrote:

In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski also faced an insurgent candidate, the Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, but after outspending him significantly she appeared to have a comfortable lead heading into the primary.

The race didn't quite turn out that way, as Miller holds a slight lead with almost all the ballots counted. Here's Cave, hedging in a Wednesday morning report at nytimes.com:

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose family has held a decades-long grip on one of the state's two Senate seats, was in a surprisingly tight race Wednesday morning against an insurgent candidate, a Tea Party favorite who received the backing of Sarah Palin.

As of 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, Murkowski was trailing Miller by 1,980 votes, with 98% of precincts reporting.