After a count of 28,000 of the outstanding absentee ballots, Mark Begich has narrowed the lead of incumbent, indicted Senator Stevens from 3,500 votes down to only 971 votes.
So, with about 60,000 votes to go, and assuming the votes counted were fairly random, it seems likely that Mark Begich is on track to achieve a narrow victory of around 5,000 votes over Senator Stevens, based on what appears to be a 54 / 46 split of these early votes.
The question, really, is whether this 54/46 margin will hold up. I suspect it might narrow slightly with the more recent absentee ballots and with the questioned ballots... but at this point, it seems unlikely to narrow enough to help convicted Senator Stevens pull off a win.
If Stevens did win, he would almost certainly be made to resign, which would trigger *another* election, in which Mark Begich would be the most obvious candidate with a chance to win.There is speculation, however, that Sarah Palin might try running for office if that happened, in order to establish some sort of national standing and position herself for a 2012 run.
(Good thing that Mark Begich appears to be on track to winning then, isn't it?!)
***UPDATE*** Begich has pulled ahead by 814 votes! Go Mark go! Keep the witch outta Washington!