Joe Miller gambles with Alaska Senate challenge

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Joe Miller is fighting as though Alaska’s Senate race has yet to occur.

He has maintained a presence on TV, conservative radio and the Internet, casting himself as a righteous reformer in the face of an out-of-control establishment. He is still raising money and speaking out against his opponent.

Miller has mounted a vigorous post-election campaign as his lawyers wage a last-ditch legal challenge to throw out write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in their hard-fought Senate race.

A hand count of ballots showed Murkowski ahead by 10,328 votes, or 2,169 when excluding votes challenged by Miller’s campaign. Miller wants a judge to set standard of review for the ballots and a possible recount.

While there’s hope this could swing the election in his favor, Miller insists that it’s less about win-or-lose now and more about principle, ensuring the law is upheld and that the election is fair.

Miller told The Associated Press that he’s “more convinced than ever that this is the right fight, not for Joe Miller but for Alaska.”

The legal challenge has left the Senate seat in limbo just one month before the race’s winner is scheduled to be sworn in.

If the fight drags on, Alaska could be left with only one senator until the dispute is resolved. That means the next Senate would be a 99-member body as it returns to take up important matters like tax cuts. Murkowski could also lose her leadership positions if the new Senate convenes without her, her attorneys warn.

People who know Miller describe the Ivy League-educated lawyer and Army veteran as driven, emotional, focused on the mission at hand.

He knows what’s at stake in fighting on, including running the risk of looking like a sore loser or hurting his chances of running for office again, perhaps against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, in 2014. But he insists he doesn’t care.

“My only call is to be faithful to what I believe is the right thing to do,” he said, “and I’ll trust God for the ultimate outcome.”

Miller relentlessness has occurred despite calls from his own party to concede and Murkowski having already declared herself the victor. Some of his highest-profile supporters have either gone silent or moved on and urged him to do the same.

Miller won the Republican nomination in the August primary with the backing of former Gov. Sarah Palin and the tea party crowd. Murkowski responded by becoming the first politician to win a write-in U.S. Senate campaign in more than 50 years.

Miller believes the state’s running of the election favored Murkowski, who mounted a write-in campaign after losing her primary to Miller.

State law calls for write-in ballots to have the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy written next to the filled-in ballot oval and Miller believes that standard should have been adhered to strictly. But the state used discretion in determining voter intent, counting ballots with misspellings toward Murkowski’s tally — a practice it has defended as being in line with case law.

A federal judge, calling both interpretations plausible, blocked certification of the race pending resolution of Miller’s complaint. The judge sent the matter to state court and a hearing is set for Wednesday.

That decision buoyed Miller supporters, deflated after the count of write-in votes went for Murkowski.

  • Jamo

    If Joe Miller had shaved, he would have won. Nice going, Joe!

  • libertyatstake

    Joe Miller shall go down as a hero for the rule of law. Lisa Murkowski shall go down as an unprincipled hack.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • tinteardrop

    Miller was/is a fresh face on the scene. Articulate, quick, smart and attractive. The vote there may or may not have been the best of situations but there’s a risk now of leaving enough vignettes for the future to, maybe correctly, wind up wearing a badge that identifies him as the local mental patient.

  • octavian61

    Fight on, Mr. Miller. This is what makes our country the best in this noxious planet that we live in. We were all raging mad some time ago with TARP, Pelosi-Care, the debt that is spiraling out of control and the never ending war in Afganistan and our soldiers who are dying in vain. Now we just shrug it off as “politics as usual.” We were entrusted with this unequaled way of life, in the hope that it will exist for many generations to come. We now stand at the precipice of losing it once and for all. We should stand behind with Mr. Miller to the bitter end.

    • craigiri

      Of course the fact that Miller took more government largess than most should then concern you…as well as his stands for War:
      “As a combat veteran of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I know the importance of supporting our troops wherever they are serving around the globe. I support efforts to eliminate terrorist threats against the United States found within Afghanistan”

      As to his Personal Welfare:
      “Joe Miller Admits Reaping Federal Farm Subsidies Despite Railing Against Taking Government Funds”

      “U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller acknowledged Thursday that in the past his family received assistance from federal Medicaid and Denali KidCare, the state low income health care program.”

      As to the Welfare of the state he lost in:
      “Today the Census Bureau has released updated figures on how much each state receives in federal funding per capita, and once again Alaska came out on top.
      Alaska received nearly twice the national average, taking in $20,351.13 per resident, the most of any American state.”

      I mean, can you spell Hypocrite?

  • Pingback: Joe Miller gambles with Alaska Senate challenge @ 2012 Presidential Election Year

  • Rocketman

    Joe, Joe, Joe …
    Hang it up, buddy.
    You really could have won this race if:

    1.) Either scrape your metrosexual-looking, razor-sculpted facial hair or grow a beard. You look like a goof to Alaskans,

    2.) Don’t invite CALIFORNIANS to campaign for you.

    Whomever has been giving you advice is either an idiot, or has acted upon your approval. In any case you blew it, Joe. As you might know, “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.


  • MerryJ1

    Ironic that some anti-Murkowski voters reportedly deliberately mis-spelled her name to invalidate the vote (Mookowski, Murkycowski, etc.). Presumably those voters were not staunch Miller supporters or, at least, were more anti-Murkowski than pro-Miller. I guess it goes to show you!

  • Dakota54

    Fight Joe. If you believe in what you are doing…then don’t give up.

  • JoeJ

    What do you do when you do not either of them?

    p.s. I don’t like his dirty gangster beard. What is he trying to say?

    p.s. And she is a nasty spoiled bitch.