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KTUU: Murkowski pulls ahead in Senate race

KTUU: Murkowski pulls ahead in Senate race

by Ted Land / 4:24 PM AKST, November 15, 2010

JUNEAU, Alaska

Lisa Murkowski has officially pulled ahead in the race to be Alaska's next senator.

The latest numbers from Juneau show Joe Miller with 90,458 votes. That includes 10 write-ins credited to him.

The Division of Elections has counted 91,517 votes to Lisa Murkowski.

That number includes 7,549 votes challenged by the Miller campaign.

Ballot counting is finished for Monday.

Elections workers and volunteers will return Tuesday and continue to pore over ballots. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell says that could continue likely until the end of the week.

Absentee votes represent the last big batch of outstanding ballots from the Nov. 2 election.

The campaigns hope those will provide an indication of where the race is headed -- whether a candidate is on track to declare victory or the race winds up in court.

“If there’s more votes for Lisa Murkowski through that process it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue on with some legal fight if all you’re going to do is go to court to hope to lose by less,” said Kevin Sweeney with the Murkowski campaign.

“As long as there are those ballots that we feel have not reached the legal requirement of being as it is on her declaration of candidacy or her last name, we’ll go forward,” said Randy DeSoto, with Miller’s campaign.

As for a lawsuit filed by the Miller campaign seeking voter rolls, Campbell says the state fully intends to provide that information to the campaign, but says the Division of Elections only has so many staff to compile the lists, and right now they're busy counting votes.

He says he'll likely ask for an extension and provide the information after staffers are done counting.

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