The Alaska Senate race is finally over, perhaps.
Alaska Superior Court Judge William Carey declared incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, the winner of the Nov. 2 election, and dismissed the challenge brought by her Republican opponent Joe Miller.
Judge Carey gave Miller only until Tuesday to appeal his decision.
Miller, an attorney who ran with the backing of the tea party movement and the endorsement of Sarah Palin, defeated Murkowski in the Republican primary, but Murkowski mounted a write-in campaign and, according to the unofficial count, she defeated Miller in the general election by 10,328 votes, or 2,169 when ballots challenged by the Miller camp are excluded.
This result was reached after a weeklong hand count of the write-in ballots was conducted and observed by both the Miller and Murkowski teams.
But Miller's camp argued that several other voting irregularities may have brought the outcome intro question. Carey disagreed and ruled on Friday that Murkowski won fairly.
Carey said Miller presented no evidence to back up his claim of election fraud. He also said election officials used the correct standard when they accepted ballots where Murkowski's name was misspelled but she was clearly the intended choice.
The judge also said Murkowski would still be the winner if all ballots challenged by Miller were disallowed.
A federal judge has ruled Murkowski cannot be certified as the winner while the legal challenge is still open.
It is unclear whether Miller will chose to appeal the decision. If not, Murkowski's win should be certified in time for her to be sworn into the Senate early next year.
It is the first time in 56 years that a write-in candidate has won a U.S. Senatorial election.