Murkowski wins improbable write-in campaign

MURKOWSKI WINS IMPROBABLE WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN…. As a rule, candidates don’t win statewide campaigns unless their names actually appear on the ballot. There are, however, exceptions.

Write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski has won the Alaska Senate race, according to the Associated Press.

The win became official when Alaska Elections officials announced that there were only 700 votes left, giving Murkowski a 10,000 vote lead over her opponent, Republican nominee Joe Miller.

The Miller campaign contested 8,153 write-in ballots that were counted for Murkowski, but she is still ahead by enough unchallenged votes to win the race.

Miller hasn’t conceded, and has talked about seeking a statewide hand recount, but Murkowski has scheduled an event for this afternoon in Anchorage, where she’s expected to declare victory.

Murkowski is only the second U.S. Senate candidate to win by way of a write-in campaign in modern American history. The only other example came in 1954, with Strom Thurmond’s (R) first Senate bid in South Carolina.

With the AP’s announcement this afternoon, there are no remaining unresolved Senate races. Next year’s Senate will have 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and two Independents who caucus with Democrats.

But before we move on, let’s briefly revisit some Twitter messages from Joe Miller, published about a month before the election.

“Think I’ll do some house hunting while I’m in DC,” one of them read.

And then: “Guess I should pick out some office furniture, as well …”

Plus: “Then there’s matter of a name plaque for the door.”

A fourth tweet referred to Senate Republicans as his “future colleagues.”

The messages were pretty obnoxious at the time. Seven weeks later, they’re hilarious.

As for Murkowski, it’ll be interesting to see her partisan postures, or lack thereof, in the near future. Remember, she’s probably not thrilled with how the primary shook out, how some of her own colleagues (Jim DeMint, she’s looking at you) backed Miller’s challenge, how her party was still fundraising in support of Miller’s campaign days after the election, with subtle allegations that Murkowski would use underhanded tactics to win. For that matter, Murkowski may also realize she won in part thanks to support from Democratic voters, who considered her a reasonable alternative to Miller.

Don’t be too surprised if Murkowski, when she returns to the Senate, is slightly more open to Democratic outreach than she has been.