Not long after campaign parties faded and Downtown bars and restaurants were vacated, it became clear that Dan Sullivan will be the Republican opposite Sen. Mark Begich in November.
Backers of the state's recently-passed oil tax structure also learned of their victory early Wednesday: most Alaskans voted to reject Ballot Measure 1.
Just hours after Joe Miller told supporters "it was not a done deal," the 2010 nominee had a change of tone as the gap between he and Sullivan widened further.
"It seems unlikely we would be able to close the 7,000 vote gap, given the current trends," Miller said in a 1:30 a.m. Wednesday release announcing that he had called to congratulate Sullivan.
With more than 98 percent of precincts reporting, the former attorney general had the backing of 40.1 percent of GOP voters. Joe Miller received 32 percent of votes counted, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell's had 24.9 percent.
Sullivan said on Twitter he was "proud" to have the nomination. "We're going to build grassroots support to beat" Begich, he wrote.
Journalists stand outside Fat Ptarmigan, with Dan Sullivan and his wife delivering a speech to a crowd growing happier by the minute as election results poured in. (Austin Baird / KTUU-TV)
Earlier in the night, Sullivan declined to speak with Channel 2 reporters and other journalists gathered outside a Downtown restaurant where he and supporters watched results come in. A campaign staffer said the decision to keep quiet was made because no national outlet had called the race at the time.
While there were previously whisperings that Miller could launch a campaign as a third-party or Independent candidate, he put that rumor to rest during a debate, and it appears Sullivan and Begich will be the only well-backed candidates on the ballot in November.
Treadwell also called to congratulate Sullivan and vowed his support.
The outcome of Ballot Measure 1 decided whether Alaska should keep changes the Legislature made earlier this year to the state's oil tax structure.
Controversy surrounded the divisive issue from the time legislation was proposed through the days leading to the election.
And on Election Day, margins were so tight during early returns that a large crowd of proponents of a repeal headed to election headquarters at the Egan Center, chanting "Alaska first." Spokespersons from groups backing the "Vote No" effort never showed up at Egan.
But at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, updated results from the Division of Elections revealed a widening margin for what appeared initially to be a too-close-to-call race.
With more than 153,000 ballots counted, a margin of 6,000 was enough for the law to stand.
The only open precincts heading into Wednesday are Diomede, Koyukuk, Metlakatla, St. Mary’s, Tanana and Willow.