Alaska Senate race: Murkowski files motion to counter Miller
November 24th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Alaska Senate race: Murkowski files motion to counter Miller

(CNN) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has filed a motion to intervene in Republican candidate Joe Miller's lawsuit challenging the method by which the state's Division of Elections counted write-in votes in the Nov. 2 general election.

Murkowski, who has already claimed victory in the race, also asked for an expedited decision.

"Joe's reluctance to accept the will of the voters remains discouraging. We are certain the state courts can act on this baseless lawsuit in a timely manner," Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said in a statement.

"By intervening in the case, Senator Murkowski seeks to protect the thousands of voters that Mr. Miller seeks to disenfranchise."

The country's last undecided Senate election arrived in state court Monday when Miller sued the state over how write-in ballots for his Republican rival, write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski have been counted.

Miller's lawsuit was originally filed in federal court, but a judge ruled Friday that it was instead a matter for the state court to decide. However, he did grant a temporary injunction halting certification of the Senate election. The incumbent Murkowski launched a write-in bid for the Senate seat after she lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed Miller.

The Miller campaign is now challenging the Division of Election's decision to ensure the state law is followed, which calls for write-in votes to match the name of the candidate. He has argued that Alaska law does not allow the counting of misspelled names on write-in ballots. The Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter's intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

After the court rules, the campaign has said it wants a hand count of the ballots.

The Associated Press called the race for Murkowski last week when she had a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a figure that includes the 8,159 ballots contested by Miller observers. Not including those ballots, she has a 2,169-vote lead.

But Miller has not conceded despite the projections of Murkowski's win and calls from Republican leaders asking him to end his bid.

In an interview with CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux in the Situation Room on Tuesday, Miller said that there is a chance he could still win because "nobody really knows what the count is."

He also defended his campaign's challenge of the write-in ballots and the request for a hand count.

"I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that's not gamed at the end." Miller said.

- CNN"s Steve Brusk and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Doc

    To quote Palin, "Say it ain't so Joe!"
    Time to step gracefully out of the way and allow Murkowski to take her seat for the good of the Alaska and the United States. Your may have been the Tea Party picked Republican candidate but the Alaskan people have shown their will and intent. It's really petty and selfish of you to continue your quest based on someone not being able to correctly spell Murkowski's name. Or doesn't the will of the voter matter to you? I thought that's what the Tea Party was supposed to be about.

    November 24, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. stufthis

    Man up, Joe! Accept the will of Alaskans.

    November 24, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    well at least the courts of there will be busy. I recall how the GOP called Gore a sore loser when he wanted a recount that the conservative SCOTUS gave Bush the office. Since then we have had an endless recount in Minnesota and now this in Alaska all requested by Republicans. Strange fruit, ain't it?

    November 24, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. JJOE

    Doc I will have to agree with you. I thought that is what that movement was all about. The People's will. Guess that doesn't include Sarah and Joe or Todd Palin who is noting but a mamma's boy living under the blanket of Sugar Mamma Sarah!!!

    November 24, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Limbaugh is a liberal

    4 years ago Joe Lieberman ran as an independent after losing the democratic primary. I didn't see republicans protesting his candidacy then. They called his win in the general election against the democratic canidate (the republican candidate won less than 10% in the general election, so was a non-factor anyway) the will of the people. Now republicans are upset that one of their own defies their party's leadership and wins by a clear margin, clearly representing the will of the people of Alaska. Hypocrites!

    November 24, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Peter E

    Joe Miller isn't exactly helping his tea partiers by displaying an image of a stubborn sore loser. And I find it amusing that the tea party which fancied itself as one defying the establishment to represent the will of the people is now the one trying to use the establishment's own laws to defy the will of the voters.

    November 24, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Alaskans did the right thing, they don't want Palin or Todd. Joe Miller had to make a promise to Todd for campaigning for him and Todd ain't got nothing going for himself. Alaskans have seen what Todd does when Sarah ain't around, she leaves him in charge and that's like leaving an idiot in charge.

    November 24, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Keith

    "I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that's not gamed at the end." Miller said.

    RIGHT! So stop gaming the system Miller. The country might have more respect for these Tea Partiers if they started acting like adults. Americans don't like the spoiled little child throwing a temper tantrum routine. I'm sure there are plenty of Senators and Representatives, from both parties, who don't make the news because they act like mature adults. However the only one in DC that I see regularly on the news acting like a mature adult is the President.

    November 24, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. kitty

    miller's mock concern for fairness and truth was notably absent when he went onto co-worker's computers to sku poll results.
    To add insult to injury, he wasn't even on his"lunch hour"–as a part timer he had NO lunch hour.Not to also mention that his"lunch hour" lasted 4 hours ...and then he had the gall to LIE about about it.
    Oh yes–just like his mentor, he is a consummate hypocrite, liar , and NARCISSIST, and his concern is most definitely NOT for the state of Alaska–it is, by golly, for JOE MILLER.Like his mentor, he will go so far and we will all have had enough.
    The only advantage his despicable mentor has is her good looks–but she is just as ugly inside as he is, and good looks eventually fade away, just like these two idiots will

    November 24, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. annie s

    You go girl! Is this really how Death panel Sarah wants her candidates to win – by ignoring the clear intent of voters because their penmanship or spelling isn't perfect? If that's what the Tea party is selling, I'm glad I'm not buying.

    November 24, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Saint

    I'm an elderly Alaskan voter. Most days, my hands shake so badly that my handwriting is barely legible. As an ever increasing number of Alaskans are in the same boat, I find it easy to believe that perfection is an impossibility. Even without this reality, Joe Miller lost the election because uncontested ballots outnumber his vote total. It's long past time for this farce to come to an end. Joe, why do you continue to embarrass yourself?

    November 24, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. stufthis

    Joe should not have hooked his star to an out of touch has been.

    November 24, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Debbie from Arizona

    Mr. Miller should just bow out gracefully, but that would take a little class, a character trait he seems to lack.

    November 24, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. Sallyal

    Murky has sidestepped the laws all the way. She refused to accept that she lost the primary. She then decided to be a write-in candidate. She requested that voters be given a list of write-ins AT THE POLLING PLACE which is a clear violation of FEDERAL law. That amounts to essentially campaigning at the polls. The others are not allowed to have their names within something like 500 feet of the polling station. The write-in laws were very, very clear in stating the the name MUST be spelled correctly. I concede that Miller does not have the votes to win but the laws must be followed for everyone not just for now but for all future elections. I applaud and support Miller (monetarily) is this effort.

    November 24, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. rusty155

    As Saran Palin would say Joe MAN-UP you lost. The ALASKA voter have voted and you lost. Saran Palin once say that we wasn't good enough to tie your combat boots. I don't think you should be aloud too wears them. I all so though the TEA PARTY was all about what the voter wanted, or is the TEA PARTY just a bunch of bull and a bunch of lies. You can't have it both way.

    November 24, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Dr Matrix

    Apparently the will of the people is meaningless to the tea party, just as they claim it is to the President. Besides, when you call for less government, why do you go to the government when you don't get your way. Just another power hungry fraud.

    November 24, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. Lawyer

    Hey Doc – good thing you went into medicine and not law. If you would have had a chance to read Mr. Miller's complaint, rather than taking CNNs word for it (which is hardly informative), you would have seen, as the Federal District Court did, there are "serious issues" in this election. The spelling of the names is simply the tip of the iceberg. For example, several hundred ballots from a few select districts appear to have all the same handwriting, or the handwriting of three or four different styles.

    This election, like all too many in the great United States, has been tainted by fraud. Mr. Miller may not even be the rightful winner, but unfortunately, we will never know. Even so, his lawsuit is to be applauded, so that the public can see openly what a disgrace this election was.

    November 24, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. Sean

    The Tea Party only cares about the will of the Tea Party. As far as they are concerned, they are the only "real" Americans. They certainly live up to the stereotype–boorish, loud, and inexcusably stupid.

    November 24, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Doug

    "I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that's not gamed at the end." Miller said.

    So what is not clear about it Joe? You lost, period! You are the one gaming the election now–the gall.

    November 24, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. David

    This is the same dude that would not allow some reporters into his campaign stops. In fact, he had his hired private security staff illegally handcuff and restrain a reporter and threaten others who filmed it. I'd say his only concern for the will of the people only matters to him if it sheds a favorable light on his particular position within the campaign/election. Since this does not seem to favor him, his claim of the will of the Alaskan residents not being hears is not only disingenuous, but as Doc said, a selfish ploy to throw out the votes of those who indicated Murkowski, but misspelled her name.

    It wouldn't be hard to determine intent of the voter since Miller is nowhere close in spelling to Murkowski. So examine the last 3 letters of the write-in, and if there is anything closely resembling "SKI," then I'd say you have an intention to vote for Lisa Murkowski.

    Shouldn't be long now before Palin turns over some funds from her political action committee to Miller's campaign to help him fight for "the will of the Alaskan voters."

    November 24, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. She Won

    Sore loser Miller! Be gracious and accept defeat! The will of the people of Alaska has been done and they much prefer Murkowski!

    November 24, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Marge

    This reminds me of the republican candidate for governor in Minnesota. Dayton leads by 10,000 votes and the GOP is harping that the Democratic candidate has a "razor thin" lead. Gee some of the republican candidates in other races had only about a couple of hundred. The states had mandatory recounts because of the small lead and they were saying a win in a win. But you know republicans by hook or crook they will try to steal any election they can.

    November 24, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Elle

    Miller maybe you could go on Dancing with the stars. You might win there with Ms Palins help. But, please go away – have some class.

    November 24, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |