Alaska's perpetual Senate race unfurled a tendril toward the future this week, as Republican candidate Joe Miller said he'll concede the race to write-in incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski but keep challenging the vote count in federal court:
"The number of votes by which a candidate loses an election is an important consideration that affects public opinion and perceptions regarding the candidate; the candidate's continued viability as a public spokesperson or representative for the causes that he or she supports; the candidate's fundraising ability, both for himself and others; and his or her future viability as a candidate," Miller's lawyers argued in the filings.
Translation: Miller hopes to run again and needs to look his best. This should be loads of fun.
Joe Miller continues his fight against apparent winner Lisa Murkowksi in the Alaska Senate race. Yesterday, Miller filed suit in Alaska state court, this time with a new charge:
In several precincts, the handwriting on many or all of the write-in ballots appears to be from the same person, or the same small group of 2 to 4 people.
Miller wants a hand-count of the ballots -- and anyone who remembers the 2000 presidential election, not to mention Alaska's messy elections history, can understand why. Determining whether similar-looking write-in ballots were in fact penned by the same person seems like a whole other matter. It's a very serious charge, with very serious implications, at a rather late point in the process.
Republican Joe Miller appears to be flat-out losing in the Alaska Senate race to write-in incumbent Lisa Murkowski. After yesterday's work, election officials say Sen. Murkowski's up by 10,400. If you take out the challenged votes that have been added to her total for now, she's still up by 2,247.
Based on Monday night's totals, the Miller campaign posted "5 Myths" about the election. Myth number one, as you can see above, is that "Joe Miller is forcing the state of Alaska to count ballots." He blamed Ms. Murkowski for that, because she's the one who waged a write-in bid in the first place.
But hold everything. Now that the count, whoever's responsible for it, shows him losing, Miller wants the entire thing redone -- by hand. From the Anchorage Daily News:
[Spokesman Randy] DeSoto noted the write-in ballots were reviewed by hand to see what name voters wrote in. "Given how close the vote totals are, Miller needs to be given the same opportunity of having all of his ballots inspected and counted by hand to ensure every vote cast for him is counted," DeSoto said in a written statement.
Election workers have only a few hundred more absentees to count. Meanwhile, DeSoto says the campaign's federal lawsuit continues.
The lawyers have started leaving.
That is perhaps the surest sign that Joe Miller's chances of becoming the next senator from Alaska are evaporating. With each passing day that election workers here in the state capital manually count write-in votes cast for Senator Lisa Murkowski, it appears increasingly likely that Alaskans spell too well for Mr. Miller's math to work.
When the Republican National Senatorial Committee ditches you, then it's just you and that Impeach Obama Campaign guy.
After a weekend of counting write-in votes, incumbent Lisa Murkowski trails Tea Party Republican Joe Miller in the Alaska Senate race by 8,820 votes. That's the undisputed tally. The state gives Murkowski another 7,059 write-ins that are currently challenged by Miller.
Write-in ballots continue breaking for Murkowski at a rate of 89 percent, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Now election workers have 10,000 more write-ins to go -- if they went at Sunday's pace, they'd need at least two more days. They'll also start working on the estimated 9,000 or so absentee ballots.
The vote-counting -- and challenging -- continues in Juneau, where Alaska Tea Party Republican Joe Miller is hoping that he can either get enough write-in votes for Lisa Murkowski tossed. Miller's been asking the federal courts to intervene. The state's response to that, reports the Anchorage Daily News, is scathing:
"The plaintiff (Miller) in this case has attempted to dress his state-law claims in federal-question clothing, in order to go forum shopping," Paton Walsh wrote. "The Alaska Court System is the proper forum for this case. The Alaska Supreme Court is very familiar with the state's election laws -- issuing an election law decision as recently as two weeks ago -- and is the appropriate court to interpret Alaska's election statutes."
Election workers have gone through about half the ballots now, with 98 percent of them coming as votes for the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Miller's camp has been challenging ballots by the handful, including ones where the "ow" in Murkowski might look like an "au," the paper reports. They'll keep counting, likely right through the weekend.
Remember when Democrat Scott McAdams came out with a series of ads pitched at Native voters? McAdams lost, but he appears to have had the politics right. The Native vote may make the difference for incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who ran as a Republican write-in. From the Anchorage Daily News:
Fueled by unrestricted contributions from Alaska Native corporations and endorsed by the Alaska Federation of Natives, Murkowski's write-in campaign clobbered Miller and McAdams up and down the remote Alaska coast. The lopsided victories stretched from the North Slope village of Wainwright, where Murkowski stands to win as much as 74 percent of the vote in the three-way race, down to Sand Point off the Alaska Peninsula, where seven of 10 people voted "write-in."
In Newtok, no one voted Miller, the Republican nominee -- literally no one. But even districts that voted against Sen. Murkowski last time went for her this year -- the fear of Joe Miller and his anti-everything platform winning out. They start counting write-in votes in Juneau on Wednesday.
As the vote counting continues in Alaska, Tea Party Republican Joe Miller has turned his attention to getting legal help. Election officials start tallying the write-in votes on November 10. Miller's campaign would like to disqualify as many attempted votes for write-in Republican Lisa Murkowski as possible.
Miller might resources to help with that from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), who's been fighting the Republican establishment from the right. It doesn't sound as if Miller can count on help from the Republican establishment:
"Miller's campaign manager also said the National Republican Senatorial Committee would be helping Miller on the ballot count," the Anchorage Daily News reports. "The NRSC will not confirm that, though."
The GOP leadership started backing off Miller even before the election, as one revelation after another sent him southward in the polls.
UPDATE: And lo, the NRSC sends a fundraising pitch for Miller's campaign. "Joe needs your help to cover the expense of legal counsel, poll watchers and volunteers," writes Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the NRSC chair. So there's that.
After watching Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell raise a little over five percent of her itemized donations from people who could actually vote for her -- that is, from people in Delaware -- we wanted to see how the rest of the Tea Party Senate slate fared.
It turns out that there's not much correlation between where a Tea Party pol got the money and what happened on Election Day. The final, final reports aren't in yet, but the FEC documents so far show that most of them raised a ton of money out of state. Check out the expanded view of all nine.
(Special thanks to our in-house astrophysicist, Summer Ash, for the data-wrangling.)