Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will declare victory later Wednesday in the nation's last Senate race, putting her one step closer to becoming the second person in history to win a write-in bid for the U.S. Senate.
Murkowski's 10 p.m. ET statement will be a dramatic climax in the state's bitter and prolonged Senate battle. It will also essentially be a triumphant declaration of beating back a three-pronged attack: from her opponent and fellow Republican Joe Miller, from the Tea Party Express, and from Sarah Palin.
"We've said all along, we'll wait for the votes to be counted," Murkowski Campaign Manager Kevin Sweeney told CNN.
"The votes will be counted this afternoon."
When asked if Murkowski will claim victory in her evening speech at an Anchorage Laborer's Hall, Sweeney said, "Yes."
"By any standard, this was a clear victory. This was a whuppin'," he added.
Currently, Alaska's Division of Elections is counting 100,868 votes for Murkowski versus 90,448 for Miller. By that count, Murkowski leads by 10,420.
However, 8,153 of Murkowski's votes have been contested by the Miller campaign. If, as Miller's side would like, all of those contested votes are thrown out – an almost impossible scenario to many election and legal observers – Murkowski would still win the race with the uncontested votes alone.
"You can see that the numbers just won't add up," Sweeney told CNN, referring to Miller's hopes of pulling out a win despite the rising tide against him.
The Associated Press has called the race for Murkowski. If that stands in the face of legal challenges, a count of any outstanding ballots or a potential recount from Miller, it would only be the second time since 1954 that a person won a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the first.
At this point, Miller is conceding nothing.
In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Miller said he is "less cautiously optimistic" given the vote tallies. But Miller was emphatic about ensuring the integrity of the vote counting process.
"I'd encourage people to understand less than one percent difference," Miller said. "I don't think there would be a call for concession to any other candidate that had a less than one percent difference."
He also said he may request a recount, he wants to ensure that some military ballots were mailed out, and that the difference between he and Murkowski may shift if a "consistent standard" for evaluating the write-in ballots is applied.
Evaluating the write-in ballots has been controversial. As Alaska's Division of Elections tallied them, some ballots that contained misspellings or variations of "Lisa Murkowski" were credited as votes for her.
The issue of evaluating a "voter's intent" has infuriated the Miller campaign, prompting it to launch a federal lawsuit in hopes of annulling the count of misspelled or incongruous ballots. Miller's campaign blasted the Division of Elections' standards as "extraordinarily ambiguous."
A Miller loss would be a slap in the face to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express. Palin endorsed Miller over Murkowski for the state's GOP Senate primary. The national Tea Party group, known for roving national bus caravans, followed suit.
Murkowski lost the primary in August – and conceded the race. Shortly after, Murkowski launched the write-in bid to retain her seat.
– CNN's Kristi Keck contributed to this report.
Take that you Tea Bag scum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU WERE BORN WINNER LISA!! Diminutive of Elisabeth or Elizabeth, from Elisheba, meaning either oath of God, or God is satisfaction. Also a diminutive of Bethia (daughter or worshipper of God), and of Bethany, a New Testament village near Jerusalem. YOU HAVE DONE US PROUD!! REMEMBER TO GIVE GLORY TO THE LIVING GOD!!
Good! Another person that will fight the Progressives and return this country to the right path!
That's my girl! I am very happy for Sen. Murkowski, she is a class act (are you listening Palin). A class act, I need not say more!
FREE RICK SANCHEZ
Don't really care about Murkowski, but I am definitely glad to see Miller fall and Palin fail to deliver.
Waiting for this day and this news
Senator Lisa Murkowski never give up she fight for Alaska she won
After the Alaska primary what many pundits said was wrong she won
Tea party or Sarah Palin couldn’t save Joe Miller in Palin Back yard
This is call democracy this the real voice of voters
Murkowski is the winner and...$arah Palin is a loser.... again!
Every major political news web this is breaking news except FOX news
congratulation, hit so hard, that wicked lady, sarah failing...o.k...work for the nation, with honesty, integrity, and ethics...and morality...Let me tell you, which my grandma told me when I was 6, "NEVER COMPROMISE TO YOUR ETHICS, MORALITY, AND PRINCIPLES....YOU ONLY DIE ONCE...WHERE EVER YOU ARE, SHOW SOME ALLEGIANCE...." God bless you, lisa...
Congratulations Sen. Murkowski!!! You deserved the win.
It's good to see that sensible voters prevailed over the far-right in the Republican Party.
Woo Hoo. Go Murkowski! Even though you are the GOP, you beat Palin's boy, Miller!
Hooray for Murkowski!
The Tea Party has given our country a Congress filled with know-nothings and care-nothings. It is scary to think about the complexity of the problems facing America, and the simple-minded boneheads we have just elected to solve them.
I hope Senator Murkowski will remember that she was helped by a lot of independents and Democrats, and will not go to Washington to fight everything that Obama is trying to do. She is free to do the right thing for the next six years ... and my guess is the voters will respect her more than they ever have.
It might be "Palin's Alaska" on the Discovery Channel, but it's "Murkowski's Alaska" that will make a real difference for the people of the state.
An gleeming portrait of political greed. At least Arlen Spector honored the results of the primary.
Kansas, here I come ~Joe Miller
Another defeat for the Tea Party weenies!!!
Guess Silly Sarah lost
I never thought I'd cheer for a republican, but it seems appropriate this time. If the figures back my memory up, I suspect this means that a Palin endorsement has had a neutral effect overall. 3 on and 3 off. Same as any ordinary unknown citizens not being paid Zillions by FOX.
I am so glad the voters went for Lisa because Joe Miller is a nut!!
Take that Quitter Palin!!
Congrats to Senator Murkowski. She successfully won the "Municipality of Anchorage" spelling bee that was demanded by her opponent. Mr. Miller can now quietly go back to handcuffing, then cleaning fish, something he is well skilled in. I prayed long and hard for this. Thank you, dear Lord, for delivering.
I'm surprised people were engaged enough to even know she was running as a write-in.... and on top of that they knew how to spell her name. I guess there is some faint glimmer of hope in this country yet.
anyone that thinks this thing is over I got some swampland down here in Texas I can sell you. Miller's gonna want a recount...take it to court..the whole nine yards you can bet. It'll be like Florida and Minnesota all over again. And if Murkowski does win Sarah Palin will more than likely blame the "evil left wing media" for saying such rotten but true things about poor Miller.
It is amazing how many complete morons there are posting on these CCN pages.
Fox makes up a lie about 50% OF THE POPULATION DOESN'T PAY TAXES AND THEY SWALLOW IT AS FACT?
I can't wait for them to start bleeting about how gravity is just a theory and water is just a drink.
Congrats Senator Murkowski – Tea Party beaten. As a Ron Paul Libertarian, I believe the Tea Party is a virulent distortion of conservative principles.