Alaska Republican Joe Miller made clear on Thursday that he has no intention of conceding in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race despite rival candidate incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski being declared the winner of the drawn-out election earlier this week and calls mounting for the embattled contender to admit defeat.
The AP reports that a lawyer for Miller’s campaign is seeking an injunction from a federal judge to stop election officials in the Last Frontier from certifying Murkowski’s victory. The challenge comes as the latest in a string of legal challenges the conservative contender’s team has made against the validity of write-in ballots cast for Murkowski, whom he defeated earlier this year in the state’s GOP primary.
Miller’s lawsuit claims Alaska law requires voters to write in a candidate’s name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate, to cast valid ballots. His campaign filed the lawsuit last week as hand counting of write-in ballots began.
Anchorage U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline denied his request to immediately stop the state Division of Elections from counting write-in ballots that strayed from the exact spelling of a candidate’s name.
On Monday, state officials filed a formal brief in opposition to the lawsuit. Thursday was the deadline for Miller to reply.
Attorney Tom Van Flein said in his filing Thursday that Miller was revising his injunction request because the Division of Elections has nearly finished its vote count.
He asked the court to stop elections officials from accepting as valid any write-in votes in which a candidate’s name was misspelled or was not written on the ballot as it appeared on the candidate’s write-in declaration of candidacy.
Nevertheless, the Anchorage Daily News reported earlier in the day that Miller still thinks he has a shot at winning. “I don’t think it’s impossible,” he said of his odds after raising skepticism about the integrity of the ballot count process.
As Murkowski celebrated her victory on Wednesday night, the Alaska GOP — which supported Miller over the incumbent senator over the course of the general election campaign — requested that the Tea Party-backed hopeful withdraw from the race. State party chairman Randy Ruedrich said that the organization “stands ready to embrace Lisa Murkowski as Alaska’s only Republican U.S. senator.”
The AP reported on Thursday night that one group is staying tight-lipped on whether Miller should officially drop his campaign:
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said the group believes the race “should be decided by the people of Alaska.” He declined further comment until the election is officially certified. That’s expected Nov. 29.
The committee backed Murkowski in the primary, which she lost to Miller. It then backed Miller as Murkowski mounted a write-in campaign to keep her job.
It ran ads for Miller and contributed at least $20,000 for attorneys to help with work like overseeing the hand count of ballots.
As the 2010 Alaska Senate race stands, Murkowski maintains a roughly 10,400-ballot lead over Miller, according to the Associated Press. Miller reportedly questioned 8,153 votes that went to Murkowski and would be unable to come out on top even if he won all of his challenges.