Lisa Murkowski was certified Thursday as the winner of the U.S. Senate race in Alaska, ending two months of legal wrangling over the seat she has held since 2002.

Murkowski has scheduled a swearing-in reception in Washington on Wednesday, according to her website. The 112th Congress opens its session that day.

Murkowski, a Republican who lost her primary race in August, will become the first senator to be elected in a write-in campaign since Strom Thurmond in 1954.

She waged the write-in effort after being defeated in the primary by Joe Miller, a tea party movement favorite. Miller has unsuccessfully sued the state over his loss. He is planning a news conference to announce whether he will pursue any further appeals.

Murkowski is expected to caucus with Republicans, though she has recently taken positions at odds with the conservative wing of her party in the Senate.

In the recently completed lame-duck session, Murkowski voted to ratify the new arms-control pact with Russia and to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Both measures were approved by Congress.

Murkowski, 53, was appointed to the Senate by her father, then-Gov. Frank Murkowski, in 2002. She ran for her first full term in 2004.