Lisa Murkowski has won her bid to be returned to Washington as Alaska’s Senator – for now, at least. After losing in the primary to Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsee Joe Miller, Murkowski fought back with an aggressive write-in campaign, becoming the first Senator elected by write in votes since Strom Thurmond did it in 1954. At the moment she enjoys a comfortable 10,000 vote lead with a little over 8,000 of those votes being challenged by Miller’s campaign, making it highly unlikely that the court will step in. Miller has vowed to take legal action so long as he thinks the math is in his favor, but those numbers will be nearly impossible to overcome.
Murkowski resigned her leadership position within the Republican party when she decided to run a write-in campaign against the official nominee. Although the party seemingly gave her a wink and a nod near the end of the election cycle, the official party support and money went to Miller, so Murkowski returns to Washington owing nothing to the party leadership. At the same time, she is not liked by the Tea Party, putting her in an odd position in the Senate.