She’s leading 41% to 34% right now with 76% reporting. Not an insurmountable lead, but things would really have to start going Joe Miller’s way in order for him to overtake the incumbent.

From NY Times:

The Murkowski campaign had used unconventional means to wage her unconventional campaign — from wristbands to homespun jingles and omnipresent advertisements showing how to spell her name. Now lawyers from both Republican campaigns are standing by to contest ballots. The only standard that Alaskan voting authorities have announced is the ability to determine “voter intent.”

As the lead for “Write-In Votes” expanded through the night, Ms. Murkowski was swarmed. She grinned. She laughed. She hugged. She pumped her fists. She embraced her husband and two teenage sons, one of whom wore a campaign T-shirt that said, “Too legit to quit.”

As noted previously, a write in candidate for Senate hasn’t won since Strom Thurmond did it back in 1954, so this is pretty historic stuff.

Also, this certainly calls into question Palin’s pull, who backed Joe Miller early and forced this three way race. Of course she did quit on Alaska to be a media personality and reality TV star…so I’m sure there’s a lot of scar tissue there and this could be one way Alaskans are giving her the one finger salute.

One thing’s for sure…if Sarah is running in 2012 (and we’ll probably know in a few months if she is), I doubt she can count on Murkowski to back her.

More as it develops…

Politics Murkowski Set To Win Write-In Campaign In Alaska