Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski has made history by winning an election without being on the Alaska ballot: voters had to write her name in a blank space under the official Republican and Democratic candidates. The last write-in Senate winner was Strom Thurmond's in South Carolina's 1954 election.
"We made history! Alaskans made history," said Murkowski to roaring cheers at a victory rally in Anchorage, the state's capital.
Prior to the midterm election season, Murkowski was Alaska's Republican Senator since 2002--preceding her father Frank in the position. However, as the primary season heated up, the Tea Party movement and its leading activist, Sarah Palin, chose to back candidate Joe Miller. Miller won the Republican primary in August, but instead of totally giving up on her bid for re-election, Murkowski insisted on running in the election as a write-in candidate.
After a week of counting write-in ballots, Murkowski led by more than 10,000 votes over Miller. Still, Miller has yet to concede victory, saying he may pursue a recount of all ballots cast. His campaign insists that if voters spelled Lisa Murkowski's name incorrectly then the vote should not count. But that claim has been thrown out as the Alaska division of elections determined that "voter's intent" will determine whether the vote counts or not.
Now, has Murkowski's separation from the official Republican Party changed her political ideals? Only time will tell as the 112th Congress comes into session in January and Murkowski assumes office as an Independent.
"It is historic. It feels great. Alaskans are in a pretty good mood today. Let's put it that way."--Sen. Lisa Murkowski
"We are up over 10,000 votes. Even if the challenged votes that the Miller camp has contested, were to be thrown out, I would still beat Joe Miller." --Sen. Lisa Murkowski
1. Where is Alaska?
2. What comes to mind when you think of Alaska?
3. How does Alaska compare to your state?
1. Why do you think it took over two weeks to announce a winner in the Alaska U.S. Senate race?
2. Do you think a ballot where the voter wrote in "Markinskee" should count as a vote for Lisa Murkowski? Why or why not?
3. Lisa Murkowski lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller, but then was able to beat him in the general election. What does this tell you about politics in Alaska?
4. There are 698,473 people living in Alaska. By comparison, 8,400,000 people live in New York City. How did this affect Murkowski's write-in victory?
5. Describe a situation in which you did not win, but ended up achieving your goals.
Read video transcript:
Murkowski Concedes Alaska Senate Primary to Miller :
GOP Midterm Victory Seen as Ordinary Tidal Change :
Tallying the Tea Party's Wins and Losses: