Lisa Murkowski's Write-In Candidacy May Pay Off

It could take days or weeks before write-in ballots are counted, but the Alaska Republican is hopeful.

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BY Aliyah Shahid
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Alaskans are writing "Murkowski" in record numbers. And it could just pay off.

Write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski is leading so far in the heated rematch between her and Tea Party favorite Joe Miller.

[See who donates the most money to Murkowski.]

"They said it couldn't' be done," Murkowski told supporters on Tuesday night. "We said, 'If it can be done anywhere, it can be done in Alaska, and let's prove the country wrong.' "

With 99% of the precincts reporting early Wednesday, write-ins had 41% of the vote, compared to Miller's 34%. Democrat Scott McAdams garnered 24% of the vote.

Miller beat out Murkowski in an upset victory for the GOP nomination in August. The Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate won by just 2,006 votes in the primary.

Strom Thurmond is the lone write-in victor in Senate history. He won in 1954.

Miller would not talk to reporters on Tuesday night, the Anchorage Daily News reported. He went home early from his campaign's evening party, then returned back to his hotel, accompanied by his friends and family.

It could take days, or even weeks, before all the write-in ballots are counted. And the tally only takes into account the total ballots cast, not the names written on them.

Miller's campaign manager, Robert Campbell, said he was disappointed, but still has hope.

"As clichéd as it is, it's not over till it's over," Campbell said.