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3774Murkowski Concedes Senate Race in Alaska

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  • Greg Cannon
    Aug 31 7:44 PM

      Murkowski Concedes Senate Race in Alaska
      Published: August 31, 2010

      ANCHORAGE — Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska conceded late Tuesday in her Republican primary race to Joe Miller, a lawyer from Fairbanks backed by Tea Party activists, Sarah Palin and other conservatives.

      Mr. Miller shocked the political establishment here and in Washington last week when he emerged with a narrow lead, 1,668 votes, after the primary vote, on Aug. 24.

      Mr. Miller, who had trailed badly in local polls in the weeks before the election, benefited from a last-minute flood of advertisements, mailings and automated calls casting Ms. Murkowski as a Democrat in disguise. An abortion-related ballot measure also brought conservatives to the polls .

      Ms. Murkowski’s concession followed the counting of about 16,000 additional ballots on Tuesday, which left Mr. Miller with a lead of about 1,469 votes out of about 103,000 cast. Several thousand more votes were to be counted on Friday but the trend suggested Ms. Murkowski would not gain enough ground to win.

      At one point on Tuesday, Mr. Miller’s lead narrowed to 1,210 votes, with several thousand votes still outstanding from Southeast Alaska, a stronghold for Ms. Murkowski.

      “It should break pretty heavily our way — hopefully, really heavy,” John Bitney, Ms. Murkowski’s campaign manager, said at one point Tuesday.

      But that did not happen.

      Randy DeSoto, a spokesman for Mr. Miller, said earlier in the day that the Miller campaign expected the results to largely track those on Election Day and that there was “perhaps a chance to expand our lead.”

      The Miller campaign had accused Murkowski aides of various types of misconduct as election workers inspected provisional or questioned ballots, which include some that may have been cast in the wrong precinct or for the wrong party. Ms. Murkowski ridiculed the Miller campaign as “paranoid” and said the charges were false.

      Lt. Gov. Craig E. Campbell, who oversees elections, said, “I don’t have any belief that the security of the voting system has been compromised.”