By Jason Lamb
4:39 PM AKST, December 27, 2010
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller announced late Sunday night that he will not oppose the certification of Alaska's U.S. Senate race, but will continue his federal court challenges of the race.
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline barred the state from certifying results, but a spokeswoman for Governor Sean Parnell says that if Beistline lifts his stay, certification paperwork could be signed Thursday.
Miller's announcement comes in the wake of an Alaska Supreme Court ruling against him in his state lawsuit, which challenged the state Division of Elections' attempts to determine voter intent on write-in ballots. It clears the way for write-in candidate Senator Lisa Murkowski, who leads Miller by roughly 10,000 votes -- about 8,100 of which were challenged by Miller -- to be sworn in as planned on January 5.
While the state is fast-tracking certification motions to make that deadline, Miller is hoping federal courts rule in his favor on his challenges, saying the way the state counted ballots was a violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause. He's also alleging voter fraud, asserting that hundreds of felons voted in the Senate race.
"It's about ensuring that we have a clear and transparent process that Alaskans can depend upon," Miller said. "Of course, we dropped our certification opposition so we can focus on these other issues and get on with the process."
Miller says he hopes that the state Legislature will clear up election laws' language in the future.
"I know that if I were serving right now, I would certainly consider methods by which we can ensure there can be no discretion exercised like we saw in this particular election," Miller said.
Miller says he's not concerned that continuing his legal fight now might hurt him as a candidate in the future.
"Our perspective is this is the right fight, not withstanding the impact that this may have reputationally, but I will tell you that our supporters are standing behind us in this," Miller said.
Murkowski doesn't buy that.
"I'm not hearing anyone say that 'yes, in fact what needs to be done is this needs to be continued,'" Murkowski said. "I don't think Alaskans believe there was any fraud in this election."
Murkowski says Miller should drop his legal complaint, for the sake of his political career.
"If he is looking to further his electoral opportunities in the State of Alaska, I don't think his continuing effort is helping him," Murkowski said. "We're all just waiting for this to be final; we haven't popped any corks yet -- and by golly, we're not going to do it until it's official."
The state has asked Beistline to lift the ban on certifying the election by the end of Tuesday.
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV