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Tue Nov 11, 2014, 10:57 PM


Sullivan, Parnell gain ground in latest round of Alaska vote counting

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan slightly increased his lead over Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, and Gov. Sean Parnell made up a bit of ground on challenger Bill Walker in his bid for a second full term, as Alaska election officials Tuesday continued counting votes in what promises to be a long process.

The effort -- held at five regional Division of Elections offices around the state -- was Round 2 of a process that began immediately after polls closed last Tuesday in the Nov. 4 general election. Last week, more than 220,000 votes were counted in those prominent statewide races.

On Tuesday, more than 17,000 additional votes were expected to be counted. But late Tuesday afternoon, after the Elections Division released a new update, the counting was not yet finished in Anchorage and Fairbanks. More than 10,000 additional votes had been counted by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The update showed Dan Sullivan with 115,502 votes, and Begich with 106,718 votes, meaning Sullivanís lead grew to 8,784 votes, or a 3.7 percent margin.

After election night, Sullivan led Begich by 8,149 votes, or 3.6 percent. Begich is hoping for a come-from-behind victory similar to his cliffhanger win over Republican Ted Stevens in 2008, when Begich dug out of an initial 3,000-vote hole to ultimately win by 4,000 votes.


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