November 12th, 2010
08:42 AM ET
9 years ago

Alaska vote count drama offers potential for family feud

Juneau, Alaska (CNN) - As the saying goes, blood is thicker than water. But is it thicker than politics?

In Alaska's undecided Senate race, two fierce competitors are battling for every vote: he wants Republican Joe Miller to win. No way, she says - the seat should stay in GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski's hands.

With steely eyes, they watched as election workers counted write-in ballots on Thursday. If they had to fight each other for a vote for their respective side - so be it. But unlike other election observers hawkishly watching over the counting in the last Senate race in the nation, Tanja Cadigan and Jack Cadigan are unique rivals.

He is the father. And she is his daughter.

In an odd pairing, both observed the ballot counting at the same table for a while on Thursday.

They'd have a "hugging war" in the end, they playfully said, to resolve any fights.

As the serious drama unfolds over the undecided contest, the Cadigan versus Cadigan match-up provided for a unique and light-hearted backdrop.

How did father and daughter end up on opposite sides of the ballot-counting table?

"She voted one way. And I voted the other way," the father playfully said.

The daughter told CNN how she felt when she first learned of the potential face-off with her dad.

"Last night I heard that he was going to be observing today and I thought, 'Oh dear, I'm observing today as well,'" Tanja Cadigan said. "So there's that moment of awkwardness – just a fleeting moment of that funny emotion that we're on opposite sides. But then I thought, 'Oh this is fantastic. It's a moment in history, really to share together with my dad. It's really special."

The father also described his initial reaction.

"Well I knew she was doing this and I thought it was great," Jack Cadigan said. "Because I've always encouraged my kids to vote and vote however they want…and to involve themselves in the whole process as much as they can."

Then, just as the ballots were being laid out, the dad intoned, "The fight is about to begin."

"I'm going to challenge," he said.

"And I'm going to counter-challenge," she replied with a grin.

Before long, after observing and challenging ballots, the dad-daughter duel was done.

There was no major beef, they said.

So what does Tanja's mother, Jack's wife, think of the situation?

"I think my mom was a bit… stirred last night. But excited that we would both do it together," Tanja said.

Filed under: Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Ferret out the B.S.

    The American way, at least they weren't getting hung up on hanging chads.

    November 12, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    So the Great Bearded One (Miller) wants all votes that are smudged,poor penmanship,misspelled even by one letter and whatever else he can think of voided? If he is so loved by the voters of Alaska, why is he so far behind. My thought is that the voters of Alaska finally realized what a poor choice for Senator of Alaska Joe Miller is.

    November 12, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. agathokles

    It's sad that observers can't take an objective stand that wants the *voters* to win. It should be about discerning the will of the voters, not about supporting the observer's partisan wishes. It bugs me when a Miller supporter wants every vote that's obviously intended for Murkowski to be disallowed because, for example, the voter wrote "Murkowsky." Anyone with half a brain can discern the voter's wishes in such a case. I agree that there are likely some really unclear, ambiguous written ballots - perhaps with poor handwriting to boot. But the objective should be to accept every ballot whose intention was reasonably clear, so as not to disenfranchise people. We should have imported folks from some other country to tally the written ballots - folks who could be neutral.

    November 12, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Who cares? They're both republicans. One supports the radical republican and the other supports the moderate. Thye're both idiots if you ask me.

    November 12, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    We need more people like this voting and participating!! A great story CNN!! And you didn't even mention the Tea Party or Sarah Palin once. I am duly impressed!

    November 12, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |