Murkowski's Write-in Campaign Beats Palin

Lisa Murkowski declared victory in the Alaska senate race last night.

Murkowski is the first U.S. Senate candidate since 1954 to win a write-in campaign, a feat made possible by her widespread name recognition, savvy marketing, help from a well-financed PAC formed by Alaska Native corporations, and the missteps of opponent Joe Miller.

In mounting the outsider run, Murkowski displayed an energy she lacked during the primary, when she let attacks on her record go unchecked and paid little attention to the Sarah Palin-backed Miller, who was making his first run for statewide office.

Miller told Fox News he's "less cautiously optimistic" than he was before. He also says his campaign wants to take a closer look at the results and election procedures before deciding whether to ask for a recount.

Murkowski's win is a loss for Sarah Palin, who supported Joe Miller's candidacy.