The saga of an empty Alaska state senate seat took a strange turn last night when Gov. Sarah Palin (R) submitted three names for the single seat.

The seat was originally vacated when Sen. Kim Elton (D) took a position in the Obama administration. By law, Palin is required to select a Democrat as Elton's replacement.

Palin's first choice was Tim Grussendorf, a legislative aide who registered as a Democrat just weeks before his appointment. Senate Democrats refused to confirm him, and instead offered Palin a list of four acceptable nominees, including House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula (D), their favored candidate.

Palin ignored the list and selected Joe Nelson, admissions director at the University of Alaska Southeast. Democrats turned down Nelson as well, arguing he hadn't been active enough in party politics.

Yesterday, Palin submitted three names to Senate Democrats. The first two? Tim Grussendorf and Joe Nelson. Palin essentially re-submitted her first two nominees, along with Alan Wilson, a contractor from Juneau who, according to the Anchorage Daily News, became a Democrat on March 4.

This left Democrats scratching their head.