It Looks Like Lisa Murkowski Could Beat Joe Miller in Alaska

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Photo: Clark James Mishler/Getty Images

An unofficial Associated Press count has 73 percent of precincts reporting in Alaska's Senate race, with write-in candidates as a group taking 40 percent of the vote over tea-party candidate Joe Miller's 35 percent and Democrat Scott McAdams's 24 percent. The Anchorage Daily News says more than 80 percent of precincts have reported, but also gives write-ins the same lead with 40 percent. Officials say it could still take days before they can determine what percentage of the write-in votes went to incumbent Lisa Murkowski, and not, say, Flying Spaghetti Monster and Lizard People, or the 160 people actually qualified as write-ins. Alaska's computerized voting system only shows whether an oval was filled in for a write-in candidate, not what was written. The state's election division didn't plan on reading the ballots until November 18, in order to wait for mail-ins. Despite deriding the act of hiring someone familiar with election law as pulling "an Al Franken," Miller's campaign manager said he had "several teams" with attorneys on their way to Alaska with their eye on the ballot count. If Sarah Palin's imprimatur couldn't bring Joe Miller victory over a write-in, it raises more questions about the tenability of Palin 2012.

Write-ins favor Murkowski; Miller won't quit [Anchorage Daily News]
Murkowski appears to have lead in Alaska [CNN]