[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/25/art.murkowski.gi.jpg caption="If Republican incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski is defeated in the GOP primary, her only option is to run as a write-in candidate."]Washington (CNN) – Democrats are already moving to quickly define Alaska Republican and Senate hopeful Joe Miller as an extremist candidate, but a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee had trouble Wednesday naming his own party's candidate for the office.
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse, in an appearance on ABC's "Top Line" political webcast, found himself at a loss when asked by the show's host to name the Democratic Party candidate in the race.
"Well, our candidate in Alaska … his name ... his name is not Lisa Murkowski," Woodhouse said.
It was an embarrassing moment, and one that was seized on immediately by Republicans blasting emails to reporters. And a stumble that would be forgotten if the Democratic candidate – whose name is Scott McAdams – was able to gain traction in a race thought to be firmly in Republican hands.
"A lot of people are getting to know Scott McAdams today – me included – and if Miller winds up being the nominee and promotes stuff like unemployment benefits are unconstitutional – we'll like our chances there more and more," Woodhouse said in an email to CNN.
One development that could raise Democrat's hopes for the general election is the possibility of a third party run by incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Republican who is currently trailing Miller by a small margin as that state's primary results are tallied.
However, according to Gail Fenumiai of the Alaska Division of Elections, the deadline to file nominating signatures for unaffiliated candidates to appear on the general election ballot has passed.
But Murkowski could mount a write-in campaign, which if it garnered momentum, could siphon votes away from Joe Miller, if he does top Murkowski when all the votes are counted.
"The only provision is for her to run as a write-in candidate … which would require her to file a petition to run five days in advance of the general election date," Fenumiai said.
Miller, a graduate of West Point and Yale Law School, holds a slim lead over Murkowski with about 15,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. Miller benefited highly from the support of the Tea Party Express and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.