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Murkowski becomes write-in winner

| November 18, 2010 8:00 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - History, the GOP, the tea party, Sarah Palin and her own mouthful of a name worked against her. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski conquered them all Wednesday, becoming the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign.

The victory is a remarkable comeback for Murkowski, who lost to political newcomer Joe Miller in the GOP primary, and a humbling moment for Palin, the former Alaska governor, 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate and Murkowski nemesis whose support was not enough to get Miller through an election in her own backyard.

The outcome became clear after a tedious week of counting handwritten ballots. Alaska election officials counted the last 714 ballots Wednesday, adding 272 more to Miller's tally and 223 more to write-ins. Next they'll determine many of the write-ins are for Murkowski. Before that count, she led Miller by 10,400 votes. Miller had challenged 8,153 of the ballots counted for Murkowski, but he would still be behind even if he won every challenge.

Murkowski declared victory after flying from Washington, D.C., to Alaska on Wednesday, exactly two months after announcing her write-in bid. She called for a night of celebration, telling supporters that "against all odds, we as Alaskans, together, made history."

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