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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski began a drawn-out battle Wednesday for every ballot with her handwritten name, as her long-shot attempt to come back from a primary defeat forced Alaskans to choose between Sarah Palin's tea party and the state's long-time GOP establishment.
Write-in votes represented 41 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting. GOP nominee Joe Miller had 34 percent; Democrat Scott McAdams, who all but conceded Tuesday night, had 24 percent.
While Murkowski celebrated the fact that she was still in the race, it remained to be seen whether the write-in votes would end up keeping her in office. Conservatives encouraged Alaskans to qualify as write-in candidates to disrupt her campaign, causing the field to balloon to 160, and Murkowski launched an offensive to make sure her write-in votes were done correctly and wouldn't be thrown out.
Robert Campbell, Miller's campaign manager, cautioned that Murkowski can't count on every write-in vote.
"I'm sure there's probably going to be two or three dozen votes for Spiderman," he said.
Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell said Wednesday write-in votes for Miller won't count because Miller's name isn't on the official list of write-in candidates
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