Alaska Tea Partier Joe Miller will not seek to prevent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from being seated in the new Senate—though he still promised to not give up his challenge to the state’s count of write-in votes. Previously, a federal judge had issued a stay preventing the state from certifying Murkowski’s victory; Miller has said he does not oppose the lifting of the stay, which would prevent her from taking her seat on January 5. The judge has indicated he’ll lift the stay.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was shunned by her own party when they “primaried” her in favor of Joe Miller. It was considered one of the biggest political defeats of the year. However, her stunning write-in victory nullified her defeat. She has emerged the winner in the now infamous Alaska Senate seat battle, leaving Joe Miller to lick his wounds while challenging her win at every level. (Miller’s challenge was recently rejected by the highest court in Alaska.)
Lisa Murkowski deserves to “go rogue” after the bitter battle she fought with her own party.
Lisa Murkowski isn’t gunning down caribou on national TV like that other famous Alaskan, but the Republican lawmaker is going rogue in the Senate just weeks after staging the most stunning back-from-the-dead political win of the 2010 cycle.
Murkowski is already showing a fierce independent streak, becoming the only Republican to cast votes for all four items on President Barack Obama’s wish list: a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a tax cut compromise, the START treaty and cloture for the DREAM Act.
The lame duck votes capped a strange political odyssey for the Alaska Republican — one that started Aug. 31 when she conceded the GOP primary to tea party-backed Joe Miller, continued when she resigned her leadership job in September and ended when she waged Alaska’s first successful statewide write-in bid to retain her seat.
Now, she heads back to the Senate with a fresh six-year term without owing much to either her home state party establishment or her Washington leadership. More…
- Lisa Murkowski’s ‘Newfound Independence’ Could Have Impact On Obama-Backed Issues (huffingtonpost.com)
- A senator scorned (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Alaska High Court Throws Out Miller Claims (time.com)
- Alaska high court rejects claims in Senate race (msnbc.msn.com)
One wonders if this guy just has nothing better to do. An Alaska Superior Court judge ruled against Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller on Friday, rejecting the claim that the name of his write-in opponent, Republican Lisa Murkowski, had to be spelled perfectly for her votes to count.
The judge asserted that Alaska law clearly allows misspellings to be counted if voter intent can be determined, and added that the question was probably moot anyway, because Miller trails by more votes than he challenged and presented no evidence for his claim of voting irregularities.
Alaska Republicans have pleaded with Miller to abandon his legal challenge, fearing it could leave Alaska with only one senator if the case continues past January 5th, when the incumbent Murkowski’s term expires. Nonetheless, Miller is expected to appeal the decision to the Alaska Supreme Court. With help from his chief political benefactor, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Miller has raised more than $200,000 to pay for his challenge to the vote tally.
- Joe Miller Suffers Major Blow As Judge Rules Against Alaska Senate Lawsuit (huffingtonpost.com)
- Judge disses, dismisses Miller’s Senate challenge (seattlepi.com)
- Judge Rules Against Miller in Alaska Race (abcnews.go.com)
- Judge rules against Miller in Alaska Senate race – Houston Chronicle (news.google.com)
- Ruling expected Friday in nation’s last Senate battle (cnn.com)
A state court judge has moved a lawsuit over Alaska’s still-disputed U.S. Senate race from Fairbanks to the state capital, Juneau.
Judge Douglas Blankenship said Monday that the case brought by Republican Joe Miller raises statewide issues and that he believes it’s inconvenient for the state to be involved in a case in Fairbanks.
He said it may be necessary for a recount or for disputed ballots to be inspected and that he did not want to do anything that might “further risk the integrity of the election” – like moving the ballots from Juneau to Fairbanks.Blankenship told attorneys a status hearing would be held Wednesday.
However, the judge declined to issue a ruling on whether Sen. Lisa Murkowski could intervene in the lawsuit brought forth by Miller. Last week, the incumbent senator’s campaign filed a motion seeking a swift resolution to the unresolved race. Attorneys for Miller’s political operation pushed back against the legal action.
Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate following her loss to Miller in the GOP primary. Unofficial results show her leading Miller by 10,328 votes. Excluding votes challenged by Miller observers, she still had a 2,169-vote lead.
However, a federal judge has conditionally halted certification of the race, saying Miller’s challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises “serious” legal issues that should be decided by a state court.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend:
Miller, a tea party favorite who beat Murkoswki in the GOP primary, has alleged bias on the part of state officials as well as voter fraud, arguing that some of the ballots have suspiciously similar handwriting. He has attacked the state Division of Elections for accepting minor misspellings of Murkowski’s name. He has complained that the hand-count of the write-in ballots started too early to give him enough time to train his volunteers to monitor the outcome.
Continue reading here…
- Joe Miller: From Alaska Maverick To Sore Loser (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Miller loses ruling on trial location (politico.com)
- How an Anonymous Graffiti Artist Voted (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- You: Despite Alaska Senate race results, Joe Miller presses on in principle (washingtonpost.com)
- Joe Miller Pushes Back Against Murkowski Campaign Intervention In Alaska Senate Election Lawsuit (huffingtonpost.com)
For all his success in helping elect ultraconservatives to the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint now must face the difficult consequences of one spectacular, all but certain failure.
Even as DeMint says he would welcome fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski back to the Senate, the South Carolinian is still urging conservative activists around the country to donate money to replace the Alaskan incumbent with tea party favorite Joe Miller.
DeMint, who raised $5.6 million for ultraconservative GOP candidates this year, has attached a personal appeal letter to a CONTRIBUTE banner and a photo of Miller at the top of http://www.senateconservatives.com , the Web site of his Senate Conservatives Fund.
“Joe Miller can win this race, but he’s up against a well-financed legal team that is working for Lisa Murkowski,” DeMint writes. “They will be fighting to bend the law in Alaska, which requires write-in ballots to accurately state the candidate’s name.”
Before a federal judge Friday temporarily froze the final outcome, Murkowski appeared to have won a historic write-in campaign against Miller in the Nov. 2 general election, overcoming DeMint’s contribution of more than $627,000 to Miller.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline suspended Murkowski’s certification as winner provided that Miller demands a recount in state court by Monday, a step he was prepared to take despite the long odds of overtaking Murkowski’s lead of about 2,000 votes.
Miller won Alaska’s Aug. 25 Senate Republican primary, prompting Murkowski to launch her write-in effort – and setting off a bitter, drawn-out exchange of actions and words with DeMint that may not end any time soon.
Murkowski has responded coolly to DeMint’s recent peace signals.
“He has suggested that he’s got some making up to do,” Murkowski told CNN on Nov. 12. “I’ll let him make the first move.”
Beyond its political intrigue, the DeMint-Murkowski tussle reveals the deeper ideological struggle within the Republican Party between hard-liners unwilling to bend their principles and moderates who say governing requires compromise.
DeMint’s badly damaged relationship with Murkowski also shows the tightrope he’s treading as he tries to remake the Senate in his ultraconservative image from inside the august chamber while backing anti-establishment rabble-rousers on the outside.
An Alaska federal judge ruled Friday that Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller’s challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises “serious” legal issues but is a matter for a state, not federal, court to decide.
Yet in deferring to an Alaska state court for a final decision, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said he would grant a temporary injunction to halt official certification of the Nov. 2 election – an action Miller is seeking – so long as Miller takes his case to the state court by Monday. Miller told The Associated Press late Friday that he intended to do so.
Beistline’s unusual action was intended to “ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election,” the ruling said.
Miller sued in federal court in a bid to stop the state from using discretion in determining voter intent on write-in ballots cast for his election rival, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who declared victory in the race Wednesday. She mounted the write-in campaign after losing to Miller in the GOP primary.
State law calls for write-in ballots to have the oval filled in and the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on their declaration of candidacy written.
But the state pointed to case law in counting Murkowski ballots that contain misspellings or were phonetic to her name. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who oversees elections, has defended the practice, saying the state doesn’t want to disenfranchise any voters.
Miller wants the law adhered to strictly, and asked Beistline to keep the state from certifying the election results based on a count of ballots that aren’t in line with it. The target date for certifying the race is Nov. 29. A recount can then be requested by Dec. 4.
Beistline said a state court is in “the best position, at least initially, to apply Alaska law and to determine who won this election.”
But he also said he’d “remain available to review any constitutional issues that may exist once the state remedies have been exhausted.”
- Judge: Alaska court must decide Senate dispute (msnbc.msn.com)
- Alaska Judge To Halt Murkowski Certification? (riehlworldview.com)
- Joe Miller tries to stop Senate election certification (seattlepi.com)
- Judge: State court must decide AK Senate dispute (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Joe Miller Seeks to Stop Election Certification (politics.usnews.com)
- Miller Sues to Prevent Alaska Vote Certification (foxnews.com)
- Joe Miller Files Suit To Prevent Certification Of Alaska Senate Results (outsidethebeltway.com)
Alaska Republican Joe Miller made clear on Thursday that he has no intention of conceding in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race despite rival candidate incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski being declared the winner of the drawn-out election earlier this week and calls mounting for the embattled contender to admit defeat.
The AP reports that a lawyer for Miller’s campaign is seeking an injunction from a federal judge to stop election officials in the Last Frontier from certifying Murkowski’s victory. The challenge comes as the latest in a string of legal challenges the the senator’s team has made against the validity of write-in ballots cast for Murkowski, whom he defeated earlier this year in the state’s GOP primary.
Miller’s lawsuit claims Alaska law requires voters to write in a candidate’s name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate, to cast valid ballots. His campaign filed the lawsuit last week as hand counting of write-in ballots began. … Anchorage U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline denied his request to immediately stop the state Division of Elections from counting write-in ballots that strayed from the exact spelling of a candidate’s name.On Monday, state officials filed a formal brief in opposition to the lawsuit. Thursday was the deadline for Miller to reply.
Attorney Tom Van Flein said in his filing Thursday that Miller was revising his injunction request because the Division of Elections has nearly finished its vote count.
He asked the court to stop elections officials from accepting as valid any write-in votes in which a candidate’s name was misspelled or was not written on the ballot as it appeared on the candidate’s write-in declaration of candidacy.
- Lisa Murkowski: “Alaskans Have Spoken” (cbsnews.com)
- “Lisa Murkowski wins rare write-in victory in Alaska Senate race” and related posts (personalmoneystore.com)
- AP calls Alaska Senate race for Lisa Murkowski – Joe Miller disagrees – Christian Science Monitor (news.google.com)
- Alaska’s Murkowski poised for Senate write-in win (reuters.com)
Sara Palin’s candidate did not win the Alaskan senatorial race. Why am I so happy that a Republican won? Well, because ANYTHING is better than another Tea Party candidate in the Senate. Especially one hand-picked by the “grizzly momma” herself.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday became the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign, emerging victorious over her tea party rival following a painstaking, week-long count of hand-written votes.
The victory completes a remarkable comeback for the Republican after her humiliating loss in the GOP primary to Joe Miller.
Her victory became clear when Alaska election officials confirmed they had only about 700 votes left to count, putting Murkowski in safe territory to win re-election. Murkowski is flying back from Washington to Alaska on Wednesday to make an “exciting announcement,” proclaiming in an e-mail to supporters that the campaign “made history.”
Murkowski has a lead of 10,400 votes, a total that includes 8,153 ballots in which Miller observers challenged over things like misspellings, extra words or legibility issues.
Miller told Fox News that he is not conceding the race, and will decide at the end of the week whether the campaign will request a recount. Miller has maintained he’ll stop fighting if the math doesn’t work in his favor. Continue reading…
- Lisa Murkowski Wins Alaska Senate Race (politics.usnews.com)
- Lisa Murkowski: First Successful Write-In Senate Candidate Since 1954 [Victory] (gawker.com)
- Lisa Murkowski emerges as winner in Alaska Senate race (thenewstribune.com)
- AP Calls Alaska Senate Race For Murkowski (outsidethebeltway.com)
- AP Calls Alaska Race for Murkowski (blogs.wsj.com)
- ALASKA: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski Declared Winner Over Teabagger Joe Miller (joemygod.blogspot.com)
Murkowski shared her take on the matter during an appearance on Monday’s edition of “CBS Evening News” with Katie Couric.
“I just do not think that she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies,” explained the incumbent lawmaker when asked about a previous suggestion she’s made that she wouldn’t support Palin for president. “You know, she was my governor for two years. And I don’t think that she enjoyed governing.”
Elaborating on her view, Murkowski continued, “I want somebody that goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about how we’re going to deal with our national security issues, how we’re going to deal with our economy, how we’re going to deal with providing better education or peace in the Middle East.”
An e-mail sent Monday from The Associated Press to Palin’s media team wasn’t immediately returned.
Palin, a former vice presidential nominee, resigned midway through her first term as Alaska’s governor last year. She’s seen as a potential 2012 presidential contender.
Despite their differences, Murkowski she says she’s still Palin’s senator and will “work hard to represent her, too.”
Murkowski is seeking to defeat Palin-backed candidate Joe Miller in the still-undecided Alaska Senate race. Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate after losing the primary to Miller.
I’m not a Lisa Murkowski fan, not in the least. However, if it comes down to the lesser of two evils, Murkowski is my choice.
Buh Bye, Joe Miller!
As Alaska’s write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski’s lead grows—98 percent of written ballots are clearly for the incumbent—Tea Party challenger Joe Miller’s legal staff is departing. Shushannah Walshe says Miller needs to give up now.
It’s not looking good for Joe Miller, Sarah Palin’s protégé and GOP Senate nominee in Alaska. The vote count continues, but he trails “write-in” by 10,000 votes and the state division of elections has examined write-in ballots for close to 60 percent of the precincts and nearly 98 percent have been counted for Lisa Murkowski.
In August, Miller pulled the biggest stunner of the election cycle when he upset eight-year incumbent Murkowski in the Senate GOP primary, prompting her to wage a risky write-in bid.
Despite the near-impossible deficit in numbers, Miller is not giving up without a fierce fight, stressing that victory is still possible. The Murkowski team says they are just desperate. When it comes to a future in Last Frontier politics, some Alaska political observers say it is better for him to bow out gracefully now then to hang on until the bitter end.
“I think he risks alienating his base,” says Brian O’Donohue, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. “He’s an individual that’s been very critical of activist judges and yet he seems to be very tenaciously exploiting any argument that can be made legally to overturn what appears to be straightforward voter intent.”