Murkowski wins reelection in Alaska Senate campaign

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first senator in more than 50 years to win a write-in victory.

The Associated Press called the race on Wednesday, almost two whole weeks after voters headed to the polls.

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Murkowski, a two-term incumbent, defeated Republican nominee Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.

She was forced to pursue a write-in campaign after conservatives, including her political rival, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), had backed Miller in his successful primary challenge to Murkowski. Republican leaders had lined up behind Miller and stripped Murkowski of her leadership position in the Senate.

The election is a blow to Palin's political influence in her home state, where she's fueded with the Murkowski family in the past. Palin won the governorship after besting Murkowski's father, Gov. Frank Murkowski, in a 2006 Republican primary.

The Alaska senator appears to have made peace with many Senate GOP leaders, who believed their colleague might have a good chance of returning to Congress. She's shown somewhat of a cold shoulder, though, toward Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who'd backed Miller.

"He has suggested that he's got some making up to do," Murkowski told CNN last week. "I'll let him make that first move."

Murkowski is traveling back to Alaska, where she's scheduled a press conference for later today.

She was ahead by more than 10,000 votes over Tea Party favorite Miller and the number of contested write in ballots were not enough for Miller to make up the gap.

So far, however, there has been no word of an official concession from Miller.

Miller had been demanding a hand recount of the more than 250,000 votes cast in the race.

The Miller campaign has continually raised concerns over the ballot counting process, questioning the impartiality of the state division of elections and of Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who plays a leading role in overseeing the process.

-- This post was updated at 3:22 p.m.

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