Murkowski certified winner of Alaska Senate race

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski was officially named the winner of Alaska’s U.S. Senate race Thursday, following a period of legal fights and limbo that lasted longer than the write-in campaign she waged to keep her job.

Gov. Sean Parnell and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who oversees elections, signed the paperwork certifying her win in the hotly contested race.

“It’s done,” Treadwell said after penning his last signature in front of cameras in Parnell’s office.

The paperwork was expected to be hand-delivered to Washington, D.C., by state Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai to guard against delays that could keep Murkowski from being sworn in with her colleagues on Wednesday.

With certification, Murkowski becomes the first U.S. Senate candidate since Strom Thurmond in 1954 to win a write-in campaign.

The official vote tally certified Thursday showed her margin of victory over her nearest opponent, Republican rival Joe Miller, was 10,252 votes.

“The voters have spoken. The courts have confirmed their voice,” Parnell said. “We have certified and attested to Sen. Murkowski’s election, and I would look forward to her being sworn in the week ahead here.”

Murkowski waged her longshot write-in bid after losing the August GOP primary to Miller, a Sarah Palin-backed tea party favorite making his first statewide run for public office.

She announced her write-in campaign Sept. 17 — an unprecedented effort in this state that lasted 46 days. Certification came 58 days after the election.

Miller was expected to announce Friday whether he’ll continue his challenge to the state’s handling of the election and its counting of write-in votes for Murkowski.

Miller sued in federal court shortly after the hand-count of ballots ended. He argued that the state should have strictly adhered to a law calling for write-in ballots to have the ovals filled and either the candidate’s last name or name as it appears on the declaration of candidacy written. Spelling, his attorneys insisted, mattered.

The state allowed for ballots with misspellings to be counted toward Murkowski’s total, with the director of the state Division of Elections, in consultation with state attorneys, using discretion to determine voter intent.

The federal judge, Ralph Beistline, determined the state courts were in a better position to decide the winner initially but blocked the state from certifying the results of the race until the “serious” legal issues raised by Miller were resolved.

Last week, the state Supreme Court, in an at-times strongly worded 4-0 opinion, called voter intent “paramount” and upheld a lower court decision that refused to overturn election results favoring Murkowski.

Miller then took his case back to the federal court, but Beistline refused to second-guess the state’s high court, tossing Miller’s claims of constitutional violations and lifting his hold on certification.

Miller could appeal Beistline’s decision, lodge a formal contest of the election results in state court or give up.

Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney called certification “anticlimatic.”

Murkowski declared victory last month after the last votes had been counted, and she has called on Miller to concede, saying a drawn out legal fight only makes him look desperate.

No one from her camp was on hand to witness the signing. Murkowski was out of state on vacation, a trip she was leaving for when Beistline’s decision came down Tuesday.

  • booki

    a victory for Murkowski…….
    i almost feel as tho she is a dem!

  • Fred M

    Lisa Murkowski is a glaring example of what a government representative should not be, as envisioned by the founders of this country. Putting aside the fact that she lied about not challenging the winner of the Republican primary. Murkowski’s only motivation for running appears to be an obsession with retaining the title of Senator. This title was bestowed on her by her father, as a gift, and it has turned into Murky’s only measure of her own self-worth.

    The result of this is that Alaska now has a Senator whose priorities are directed towards maintaining her personal power and away from the priorities of Alaskans and, more importantly, in almost direct opposition to the priorities of the United States as a whole.

    She is also consumed by petty rivalries, with whomever. It’s easy to see Murky voting for or against some legislation solely to annoy Sarah Palin, regardless of consequences to Alaska or the nation. A person with this mindset has no business in a position of power and I can only hope her colleagues in the Senate marginalize her as much as possible.

  • recovered dem

    Daddy bought the election for this female puke. She should be removed from any and all committees.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-G/504624590 Chris G.

    It’s a shame that Joe Miller won’t be going to DC. I think that he, along w/ Rand Paul, Mike Lee & Dr. Tom Coburn woulda made a heckofa team in the Senate. What are the chances of his trying again in either 2012 or 2014?

    • SolipsisticToo

      Miller lost to a write-in candidate.

      He is toast.

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  • Sonny119

    Prediction.. Lisa Murkowski has revealed her true Liberal colors, and will switch Political Party affiliation to the Obamacrats.. and when she does, she will vindicate all Constitutional Conservative Tea Party Patriots, and or Republicans, in Alaska, as well as the rest of America.. not that she hasn’t already done that, in her own special Arrogant Elitist Spoiled Entitlement Liberal way..
    She has already voted all down the line with the Obamacrats in the Senate, and has now told Mitch McConnell, that she will make Liberal Votes, with the Obamacrats, for the next 6 years..
    So you see, Moronic Liberal Stupidity, is not the domain of Washington DC..

  • libertyatstake

    Yeah, but which caucus will have her?

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”