Murkowski camp: Senator could be certified as winner this week or early next
December 20th, 2010
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Murkowski camp: Senator could be certified as winner this week or early next

Washington (CNN) – It's been nearly 17 weeks since Alaska's Republican Senate primary and nearly seven weeks since Election Day. Could the end finally be in sight in the nation's last, undecided Senate race between Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Republican challenger Joe Miller? Ask one side and the answer appears to be: yes.

Murkowski's campaign said that the state could certify the incumbent Republican as the winner within days.

"I'm confident that, in the worst case scenario, this goes into next week," Murkowski Campaign Manager Kevin Sweeney told CNN, referring to Alaska's certification of the senator as the winner.

According to Sweeney, it's also possible – though not probable – that Murkowski will be certified later this week.

Sweeney laid out an assumed timeline: the Alaska Supreme Court, currently mulling over Miller's legal challenge, could rule in Murkowski's favor on Monday. Then, after a few more days of legal maneuvers from the involved parties, a federal judge could lift his ban on the certification of Murkowski as the winner. That judge has not allowed any certification until Miller's challenges have gone through Alaska's courts.

"Once the state certifies the election, she can be sworn in," Sweeney said of Murkowski – referring to the January 5 swearing in for members of Congress.

But that may have to wait until more legal hurdles are cleared. Having lost arguments in a lower court, Miller hopes the state's highest court will rule in his favor.

Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate in the general election after losing her party's primary to Miller.

Miller wants any ballots credited for Murkowski that did not spell her name precisely to be thrown out. Miller's lawyers argue that the Alaska Division of Elections' evaluation of a "voter's intent" - in counting misspelled or incomplete ballots - is against state law. Miller lost those arguments in the lower state court.

Miller currently trails Murkowski by a 10,000-plus vote margin, according to the unofficial results from the Division of Elections. Murkowski has claimed victory.

But even if all the challenged ballots are thrown out – an unlikely scenario to many observers – Miller would still trail the senator by just over 2,100 votes.

Referring to Friday's oral arguments, Miller said in a statement released that day, "The tenor of the Court's questions shows that it believes we have raised substantial legal questions."

"All we are asking the Court is to apply the plain text of Alaska law as written," Miller continued.

If this decision does not turn out in its favor, Miller's campaign has told CNN it's considering taking the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska • Joe Miller • Lisa Murkowski
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Mikey H

    Miller, remember when Al Gore was being a great big whiner in about recounts and by the end of it he still lost and no longer had a political career? Yeah...think about that before appealing to the Supreme Court.

    December 20, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. a in austin

    For a person running on fiscal conservatism, this man sure is spending our tax $$$ freely. How many times must you be told, "You did not win...."

    December 20, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. payback

    ....Hey, joe 'tea bagger' miller, If your not happy with the results. Why don't, you go the second amendment route. Isn't, that, what you guys. Like to proclaim. When your can't get, your way................................

    December 20, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    He and Palin are peas in a pod – sore losers and big big takers and talkers.

    December 20, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. p

    Hey Miller! Aren't you glad you got dimwit Palin's endorsement?
    Your 15 minutes are up, now. Bye!

    December 20, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Sarah

    Isn't it strange how these 'Tea Partiers' get all up in arms over government spending – but insist upon their right to hold up government functions and spend tax dollars like crazy when it benefits them? All these recounts can't be free... Joe Miller needs to get over himself.

    December 20, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. FedUpRepublican

    Definition of a megalomaniac: see Joe Miller. I wonder how much DeMint is paying him to drag this thing out for as long as possible.

    December 20, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. LovesIrony

    why is it that big mouth Sarah Palin spouts off about everything else under the sun and CNN puts it up as lead ticker story, but no word from her on this her pet clown. CNN care to ask her a question? or are you afraid she will twit that you are being lame again. If she won't respond then give her no press. SUCKERS

    December 20, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    You gotta love that this whole [R] mess has been a golden egg to a bunch of trial lawyers, the [R]s "favorite" people.

    December 20, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. sammieb51

    Is there such a thing as a stalker in politics? If there is, this guy is it. Need to check his background a little more ..... And that obnoxious picture of him .... What is it about the folks that LOSE in Alaska??? They just don't go away do they. Can't let Murkowsky (sp) bask in the sunlight of a remarkable accomplishment - first write in candidate to win (overwhelmingly too I might add) since early 1950's, Miller has to clamor on and on about his meager 3000 or so votes!!! Unreal. GO HOME JOE – the people have spoken!!

    December 20, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. J-NW

    Although I wouldn't have voted for either Millier or Murkowski, anybody who can stick it to Palin and the 'baggers in such a prolific manner definitely has my respect – thank you Lisa M.

    December 20, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Matthew in Wisconsin

    Keep Going Joe! Keep pushing on. Don’t give up! I figure the more you make your true colors show, the more likely you will NEVER hold public office. Keep on campaigning Joe! I'd like to see Alaskans' opinion on this situation. Did Alaskans REALLY want wack-job Joe as their senator? What is Alaskans’ current opinion of his fearless leader, Palin? Sieg Heil Sarah! Have you read any news publications lately? How much is Playboy offereing you to pose in their fine conservative magazine?

    December 20, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. PTA Mom in Maryland

    Oops... I meant that I guess they are afraid that they can NOT be assured wins on elections day without State Board of Elections help.

    December 20, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. PTA Mom in Maryland

    Apparently in Alaska, Murkowski's votes were counted by hand and Millers by machine. Since the machine count is less accurate than a hand count, Miller could gain significant votes on a hand count.

    Also, apparently there are cases where votes in certain precincts were written for Murkowski in the same handwriting. Also, there are sworn affadavits of write in votes being present in the bin at the precinct when the first voters entered the building when the polls opened to vote.

    December 20, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    A winner never quits =Obama. A quiter never wins =Palin. Afirst class louse and looser can never win=Joe MIller. Nuff said.

    December 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |