Murkowski overtakes Miller in Alaska Senate vote count

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 15, 2010 

The Murkowski campaign is all but claiming victory as Sen. Lisa Murkowski leads Joe Miller by more than 1,700 votes after Monday's review of write-in ballots.

The Division of Elections has now counted 92,164 votes for Murkowski and 90,458 for Miller. Murkowski's number will grow as the state continues to go through write-in ballots today, looking to see what name voters wrote on them.

More than 8,000 write-in ballots remain to be looked at. The trend since counting began last week has been for the Division of Elections to count more than 97 percent of them for Murkowski.

Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said he won't be claiming victory until all the votes are counted. But, assuming the trend continues, Sweeney said Miller has to be thinking about giving up. Sweeney said he doesn't see how the math works out for Miller to think it's going to do him any good to keep trying to get the courts to toss out misspelled ballots. It looks like there will be enough perfectly spelled ballots for Murkowski to win, Sweeney said.

"It's hard for me to figure that they would be able to look at these numbers and come up with any reasonable move other than facing the fact that Lisa Murkowski won the election," Sweeney said.

The Miller campaign insists that's not the case. Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said he still thinks the court challenge could get enough votes thrown out for Miller to win.

"The race is far from over," DeSoto said.

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