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Entries in Alaska (39)

Saturday
Jan012011

Alaska Senate Race Finally Over; Miller Concedes to Murkowski

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JUNEAU, Alaska) -- Tea Party favorite Joe Miller on Friday conceded defeat to Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's senate race, bowing out one day after the state certified Murkowski's win.

Miller, who had been endorsed by former Governor Sarah Palin, defeated the incumbent Murkowski in a Republican primary and was seen as the likely winner.  Murkowski launched a strong write-in campaign that overwhelmed Miller on election day.

Miller could have appealed the latest of three court rulings against him or fought to overturn the state certification.  He chose not to, indicating he felt he was still correct but that the courts would not see it that way.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec302010

At Last: Alaska Certifies Senate Election Results

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- After a nearly two-month struggle that saw former candidate Joe Miller challenge the validity of midterm election results naming Republican Lisa Murkowski Alaska senator, Governor Sean Parnell and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell signed paperwork Thursday certifying Murkowski as the winner. The final vote count left Murkowski with 101,091 votes and Miller with 90,839 votes.

"The courts have now allowed us to carry out the will of the people," Lt. Governor Treadwell said.  "We congratulate Senator Murkowski on her historic victory, and all candidates for their earnest efforts."

The documents certifying Senator Murkowski's victory will be filed before the Jan. 3 deadline in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec272010

Miller Will Not Oppose Certification of U.S. Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - Joe Miller for US Senate(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) -- Joe Miller, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, will not oppose state certification of the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. For the sake of the integrity of the election, Miller will go forward with the federal suit, which was filed last month, but required a final determination by the Alaska state court to proceed further. He will be filing a motion in federal court to stay the post certification election contest timeline until after the federal case has concluded.     

“After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward," Miller said. "The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month. This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue.”  

In its court filings, the Miller legal team pointed out several issues that require further review including: whether the U.S. Constitution’s election clause was violated by ignoring the legislature’s mandatory provisions for write-in candidates; whether the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause was violated by the different vote counting standards that were applied, dependent on the candidate in question; and other issues such as at least hundreds of felons voting and at least hundreds of ballots being filled out by a handful of people.  

Miller stated, “We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future. Election integrity is vital.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec222010

Alaska Supreme Court Strikes Down Joe Miller's Claims

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- On Wednesday, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski became one step closer to officially regaining her post in the Senate.

The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision and struck down Joe Miller's claims that the Alaska Elections Division broke the law by counting write-in ballots that were misspelled but represented voter intent.

"We do not interpret the statute to require perfection in the manner that the candidate's name is written on the ballot. Our prior decisions clearly hold that a voter’s intention is paramount," the Supreme Court said in its ruling.

"It is Miller's interpretation of the statute that would erode the integrity of the election system, because it would result in disenfranchisement of some voters and ultimately rejection of election results that constitute the will of the people," the court added.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline also threw out Miller's claim of election fraud. The candidate widely touted by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party has 48 hours to make his case on any outstanding issues. Miller's campaign hasn't yet said whether he will pursue the case.

"We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code, without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment," Miller's campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said in a statement. "We are reviewing the court's ruling and will be weighing our options."

Murkowski led Miller by more than 10,000 votes, thanks to a write-in campaign that was challenged by Miller every step of the way.

The incumbent senator -- only the second in U.S. history to wage a successful write-in campaign -- declared victory on Dec. 17, but Miller's legal challenges kept the elections board from certifying the result.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Dec132010

Joe Miller Takes Legal Challenge to Alaska Supreme Court

Photo Courtesy - Joe Miller for U.S. Senate(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- It’s been more than a month since the midterm election, but Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller isn’t giving up the fight against incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The Tea Party-backed candidate filed an appeal Monday in the Alaska Supreme Court, three days after a lower court ruled against him and declared that write-in ballots that showed voter intent for Murkowski can be counted, even if they were misspelled.

Miller has argued that the elections division bent state law by allowing such ballots to be counted.

"We have consistently asserted that the law should be followed strictly,” Miller said in a statement. “The fact that the legislature stated that there should be ‘no exceptions’ to the ballot counting method is what, in our view, should govern this matter. Under the current ruling, there are now over 8,000 exceptions, a result everyone who favors the rule of law should question."

Miller is demanding that all of his ballots that were tabulated by a machine also be hand-counted, like those of Murkowski’s.

The last count by the state elections board showed Murkowski leading Miller by more than 10,000 votes.

Murkowski declared victory on Dec. 17, but Miller’s legal challenges have kept the elections board from certifying the result. If that doesn’t happen by the start of the new Congress in January, the Senate could convene with one member short.

Last week, Alaska’s other senator, Democrat Mark Begich, called on Miller to “put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition” and drop the challenge against Murkowski.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec112010

Alaska Judge Rules Against Tea Party Candidate in Senate Race

Photos Courtesy - Joe Miller for US Senate/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Alaska Tea Party candidate Joe Miller has lost another legal round in his bid for Senate.

A judge ruled against the Republican's lawsuit that challenged more than 8,000 write-in ballots that were either unclear or contained spelling errors, but showed intent for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Miller has until Tuesday to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.

Murkowski -- who ran as an independent in the three-way race -- had a 10,000 vote lead over Miller when she declared victory last month.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich Tells Joe Miller to Drop Election Challenge

Photo Courtesy - Joe Miller for U.S. Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Alaska's Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has called on Joe Miller to “put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition” and drop the challenge against incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Miller’s lawsuit challenging write-in ballots has held up official certification of the elections. If the certification doesn’t happen by January, when the new Congress convenes, Murkowski won’t be sworn in and Alaska will be missing one of its seats in the Senate.

“As many in Washington are united against securing funding for important road and public facility projects in individual states, it’s vital that Alaska have both senators putting our unique needs first and fighting for our state,” Begich said in a statement Monday. “Without both senators, Alaska’s interests will be at risk on critical issues from energy development to job creation and reducing the national debt in a way that’s fair to Alaskans.”

Murkowski is leading Miller by 10,328 votes, but the Tea Party-backed candidate is challenging many of the write-in ballots on the grounds that they should not be counted if they are misspelled. The Alaska Elections Division decided that ballots that clearly show voter intent would be counted.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov222010

Alaska Senate Battle Continues, Miller Gets Respite from Federal Judge

Photo Courtesy - Joe Miller for US Senate(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski declared herself a winner last week, but the end is nowhere in sight for the bitter battle being fought among Republicans in the Alaska Senate race.

On Friday, a federal judge in Alaska granted Joe Miller a temporary injunction to halt official vote certification and deferred the matter to a state court.

Miller, who has vowed to continue fighting, has to take up the matter with the state court by Monday.

"The results of this election shall not be certified until the legal issues raised therein have been fully and finally resolved," Federal District Judge Ralph Beistline wrote.

The Tea Party-backed candidate had argued that the Alaska elections division was overstepping its constitutional boundaries by deciding that write-in ballots that were misspelled could still be counted if they showed voter intent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov192010

Miss Independent: Murkowski Steps Outside Party Lines

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) -- In the run-up to the Midterm Elections, Republican leaders in Washington had no choice but to back Joe Miller, the failed Alaska Republican Senate candidate.  But it's a decision that could lead to a lot of headaches now that victorious write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski is retaking her seat as an Independent Republican.

No longer beholden to the party, her first act of the new Senate term was to reject the Republican Party line.

Republicans in Washington had been touting a self-imposed moratorium on "earmarks" -- pet spending projects -- as a way to distinguish themselves from Democrats.  Republicans regained the majority in the House of Representatives and gained Senate seats on November 2nd due to the party's message of limited spending and smaller government striking a chord with voters. As a result, even longtime earmarkers like the Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell changed course to support the earmark ban.

But Murkowski issued a blistering statement Tuesday night making clear she would not be on board.  Banning earmarks, she argued, is akin to giving the reins of government to bureaucrats.

"The notion that Congress would abdicate its constitutional duty and turn federal spending over to government bureaucrats is wrong and goes against the Constitution's mandate that says the power of the purse lies with the legislative branch of government," she said.

"We recognize that we need to stop out-of-control spending, but let's make sure that the action we take actually translates into spending and deficit reduction rather than just messaging," said Murkowski.  She said she'll fight for Alaska's "fair share" of its appropriations dollars and called the moratorium a "shell game that moves the money and the decision-making responsibility from Congress to the bureaucracy."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Lisa Murkowski Makes History as Write-In Candidate, Wins Alaska Senate Race

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has become the first incumbent senator and only the second person in U.S. history to wage a successful write-in campaign.

"We made history," Murkowski told supporters gathered in Alaska Wednesday evening. "Alaskans made history. And doesn't it just feel -- wow! -- still a little bit mind-boggling? And that's why it's important to be surrounded by friends, supporters."

In a historic election that pitted Republicans against Republicans, Murkowski emerged victorious by a narrow margin. As of Tuesday evening, Murkowski had won more than 90 percent of the write-in votes and had a lead of more than 10,000 votes over Miller.

Miller defeated Murkowski in a rancorous Republican primary, prompting Murkowski's decision to mount a write-in campaign. Murkowski toned down the rancor Wednesday evening, however, thanking Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, who finished third.

"Both of these men put their heart and soul...into this campaign," she said. "What a wild, wild two months that has been."

She called upon her opponents to unite with her in the interest of Alaska.

"This is now the unifying time," she said. "This is now when we as Alaskans say, 'OK, the campaign is over. Let's go to work.'"

Despite Murkowski's lead, Miller on Wednesday refused to concede, saying he was "less cautiously optimistic" but would wait until military ballots from overseas were counted to make a final decision.

The only other person to win a U.S. Senate seat in a write-in campaign was Strom Thurmond, who ran in South Carolina in 1954. No write-in candidate had ever been successful in Alaska.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 







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