Derryn Hinch, who once cheated death when he was given a last-minute liver transplant, retains an outside chance of a new resurrection, this time in his political life.
Senator Hinch's prospects of retaining his Justice Party Senate seat for Victoria have been written off by most commentators, but his senior adviser, Glenn Druery, says he is getting a flow of preferences from many minor parties as the Senate vote count continues.
"I don't want to sugar-coat it," Mr Druery, who is known widely as the "preference whisperer" because of his ability to stitch together preference deals that can produce unexpected political winners, said.
"His pathway forward is tenuous. But it's still possible. As long as there is breath in the patient, there is still hope."
Senator Hinch is avoiding the media until his political future is decided.
Mr Druery said that if Senator Hinch was returned, he would be "absolutely central" to the balance of power.
The final make-up of the Senate is yet to be determined but the Coalition government is likely to have 34 seats - and is an outside chance to have 35. Labor and the Greens are likely to hold 36 seats between them.
If Labor and the Greens voted as a bloc to stymie government legislation, the Coalition would have to rely on the support of senators from small parties such as Pauline Hanson's One Nation, Centre Alliance, Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives and Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie.
His primary vote currently sits at slightly less than 3 per cent - well below a quota required for automatic election to the Senate. A little more than 60 per cent of first preference votes had been counted by the end of Wednesday.
"There's still quite a ways to go," Mr Druery said.
The Senate count, which is much more complicated than the count for the House of Representatives, usually takes several weeks. A total of 31 parties and six independents ran for the Senate in Victoria.
Senator Hinch's only chance lies within preference flows from many of the parties, large and small.
Mr Druery, who is a keen scrutineer of the vote count, said preferences were coming from Labor, the Greens, the Coalition and numerous smaller parties.
He said he would hold his judgment until all Senate votes had been counted and entered into the Australian Electoral Commission's computer.
"When that button is pushed and the answer pops out, we'll know once and for all," he said.
- SMH/The Age