Sarah Palin’s Alaska Cliff Notes

November 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

FrumForum gives a play by play.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Joe Miller: From Alaska Maverick To Sore Loser

November 28, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Despite the fact that both the mathematics and the law are  against him, Joe Miller is inexplicably continuing his quest to overturn the results of an election that everyone else seems to have already accepted:

Much of America may have moved on, but Joe Miller has not. More than a week after the last vote was counted in Alaska’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, the Republican nominee continues to press his case in court in hopes of grabbing back a victory that once seemed inevitable.

Never mind that the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), has already declared that she made history by mounting the first successful write-in campaign for Senate in more than 50 years. Or that the Alaska Republican Party has called on Miller to “end his campaign in a dignified manner.” Or that there is but a sliver of a chance he could win even if all his court challenges prove successful.

Miller, a tea party favorite who beat Murkoswki in the GOP primary, has alleged bias on the part of state officials as well as voter fraud, arguing that some of the ballots have suspiciously similar handwriting. He has attacked the state Division of Elections for accepting minor misspellings of Murkowski’s name. He has complained that the hand-count of the write-in ballots started too early to give him enough time to train his volunteers to monitor the outcome.

And he has asked for a hand recount of all the ballots, saying the machine-counted votes that went largely for him should receive the same scrutiny - and potentially benefit of the doubt - as the write-in ones cast for Murkowski.

“Lisa Murkowski’s were counted by hand, allowing those not automatically tallied by the voting machines to be reviewed and counted. If Miller’s ballots were given the same review, he will likely gain numerous votes,” Randy DeSoto, a Miller campaign spokesman, said in an e-mail.

According to the state’s unofficial results, Murkowski won a solid victory with about 40 percent of the vote. Miller received about 35 percent, and 23 percent went to Democrat Scott McAdams, who has conceded defeat.

Miller’s campaign has flagged about 8,000 votes as problematic because of misspellings and other problems. But even if a judge sided with Miller and ordered all those votes thrown out, he would fall short.

“I’m just going to be very straightforward here. I think that race is over,” said former congressman Norm Coleman, a Republican who was defeated in the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. That contest dragged on for eight months after Election Day as the candidates battled in court before Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner.

“The counting’s been done. I’m not sure that anything is going to change,” Coleman said in a C-SPAN interview set to air Sunday. “Without criticizing Joe Miller, I would offer him advice . . . that I think it’s time to move on, that there’s not much you can gain by extending the process.”

When Norm Coleman is telling you to give up, it’s pretty clear that it’s time to give up I think.

More broadly, I don’t quite understand what Miller thinks he’s doing here. There’s virtually no chance that courts are going to invalidate enough write-in ballots to allow him to win, and even less of a chance that they’re going to authorize the hand recount that he is now demanding, a recount for which there does not appear to be any legal basis in Alaska law. All he’s doing at this point is forcing the state to defend a lawsuit that he has little chance of winning, and costing the taxpayers money. Which is an odd thing for a guy who campaigned on fiscal conservatism to be doing when you think about it.

Even some of Miller’s supporters seem to recognize that he’s only hurting himself at this point:

“He has two things to worry about. He has his future political reputation, but he also has right and wrong on the line. If wrong was done, then it needs to be corrected,” Burke said last week. “I think by next week, either Joe has to have some pretty compelling evidence to show the public, or he needs to just fold up his luggage and just call it a day.”

Some would say that day has already passed, but if Miller does have the idea of challenging Democrat Mark Beglich in 2014 as some have speculated, he’d do well to learn that the time to be a gracious loser has long passed.




Outside the Beltway

Miller Still Fighting in Alaska

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington Post: “Much of America may have moved on, but Joe Miller has not. More than a week after the last vote was counted in Alaska’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, the Republican nominee continues to press his case in court in hopes of grabbing back a victory that once seemed inevitable.”

“Never mind that the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), has already declared that she made history by mounting the first successful write-in campaign for Senate in more than 50 years. Or that the Alaska Republican Party has called on Miller to ‘end his campaign in a dignified manner.’ Or that there is but a sliver of a chance he could win even if all his court challenges prove successful. “
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Alaska Senate race: Murkowski files motion to counter Miller

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has filed a motion to intervene in Republican candidate Joe Miller’s lawsuit challenging the method by which the state’s Division of Elections counted write-in votes in the Nov. 2 general election.

Murkowski, who has already claimed victory in the race, also asked for an expedited decision.

“Joe’s reluctance to accept the will of the voters remains discouraging. We are certain the state courts can act on this baseless lawsuit in a timely manner,” Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said in a statement.

“By intervening in the case, Senator Murkowski seeks to protect the thousands of voters that Mr. Miller seeks to disenfranchise.”

The country’s last undecided Senate election arrived in state court Monday when Miller sued the state over how write-in ballots for his Republican rival, write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski have been counted.

Miller’s lawsuit was originally filed in federal court, but a judge ruled Friday that it was instead a matter for the state court to decide. However, he did grant a temporary injunction halting certification of the Senate election. The incumbent Murkowski launched a write-in bid for the Senate seat after she lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed Miller.

The Miller campaign is now challenging the Division of Election’s decision to ensure the state law is followed, which calls for write-in votes to match the name of the candidate. He has argued that Alaska law does not allow the counting of misspelled names on write-in ballots. The Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter’s intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

After the court rules, the campaign has said it wants a hand count of the ballots.

The Associated Press called the race for Murkowski last week when she had a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a figure that includes the 8,159 ballots contested by Miller observers. Not including those ballots, she has a 2,169-vote lead.

But Miller has not conceded despite the projections of Murkowski’s win and calls from Republican leaders asking him to end his bid.

In an interview with CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux in the Situation Room on Tuesday, Miller said that there is a chance he could still win because “nobody really knows what the count is.”

He also defended his campaign’s challenge of the write-in ballots and the request for a hand count.

“I think Alaskans deserve to have a clear process, one that they can rely on in the future, and one that’s not gamed at the end.” Miller said.

- CNN”s Steve Brusk and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


CNN Political Ticker

Video: Palin/Christie in 2012? Bristol Gets Shipped Back To Alaska

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Jimmy Fallon wants to see New Jersey Governor Chris Christie run as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin‘s Vice President in 2012. And Jimmy Kimmel has no mercy for Bristol Palin after she lost in the finale of “Dancing With The Stars”: “At about 2 o’clock this morning Bristol Palin will be deported back to Alaska, to dance exclusively with wolves.”

Kimmel is also excited that Sarah Palin’s new book is out in time for the holidays: “It’s mostly her typical Sarah Palin-y stuff. But I have to say the chapter on igloo construction is indispensable.”

Today’s Must See Moment: Fast Forward to 1:49 to see what Christie thinks about Palin for president in 2012.

Take today’s Late Night Poll after the jump!

Hotline On Call

Media Analysis: ‘Dancing’ soars, ‘Alaska’ falls: Are Palin politics at play?

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - “Dancing with the Stars” continues to enjoy enormous ratings - and enormous amounts of controversy and decidedly non-dancing publicity. The ABC competition show will conclude tonight, and viewers will find out whether Bristol Palin can pull off the upset victory. Meanwhile the other show with Bristol as co-star, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” is seeing ratings erosion for episode two.

ABC’s overnight ratings for the 8 p.m. DWTS were a 16 rating/24 share - enough to be the most watched program on television last night (the extended 10 minutes did slightly better). The show beat second-place CBS by 39 percent. But as Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post writes, the program is no longer just about dancing. She interviewed executive producer Conrad Green, who noted the politicization of the program by both sides, and said it was not something he had anticipated.

“I feel sorry for Bristol - she shouldn’t have to be doing this under this scrutiny,” said Green.

Meanwhile, right-of-center website Hillbuzz.org says they have been gaming the system - not because they like Bristol’s waltz, but for more political reasons.

“The real aim of Bristol’s Pistols: to expose Democratic hypocrisy on voter fraud and ask why the media is so obsessed with the voting on a reality show but doesn’t care about Leftist tampering with actual elections,” blogger Kevin DuJan wrote.

Will a Bristol win Tuesday night anger the most ardent DWTS fans? Or will a loss just be chalked up to part of a vast left-wing conspiracy? (Is it even clear that both questions are sarcasm?)

Meanwhile Bristol’s TLC show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” fell drastically from its enormous debut last Sunday. The program had nearly five million viewers for its premiere, finishing #6 on all of cable. But two days ago the show was seen by just 3.04 million, and dropped to #68 for the week.

The Hollywood Reporter writes, “TLC expected a ratings drop coming off the high-flying premiere; executives realized some of their numbers were driven by sheer curiosity rather than eagerness to see an Alaska-based travelogue reality show. Competition from Sunday Night Football and the American Music Awards may have impacted the numbers as well.”

With the political implications a constant source of debate, it’s impossible to see the reality show as simply a look at Alaska and Palin’s family life. As she publicly speculates about her own 2012 run, the interest in the show, especially by her fans, will continue. While losing two million viewers from episode one to two is significant, it signals the drop off of the curious observers, looking for the nugget or hint that shows Palin is ready (or not) to make a Presidential run a reality.


CNN Political Ticker

Alaska Senate race heads to state court

November 23, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - The country’s last undecided Senate election arrived in state court Monday when Alaska Republican Joe Miller sued the state over how write-in ballots for his Republican rival, write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski have been counted.

Miller’s lawsuit was originally filed in federal court, but a judge ruled Friday that it was instead a matter for the state court to decide. However, he did grant a temporary injunction halting certification of the Senate election.

The incumbent Murkowski launched a write-in bid for the Senate seat after she lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed Miller.

The Miller campaign is now challenging the Division of Election’s decision to ensure the state law is followed, which calls for write-in votes to match the name of the candidate. He has argued that Alaska law does not allow the counting of misspelled names on write-in ballots. The Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter’s intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

After the court rules, the campaign has said it wants a hand count of the ballots.

“We have consistently stated that the rule of law has to be followed,” Miller said in a statement Monday. “State law is not a lunch menu where the Lt. Governor can pick and choose which laws he likes and will follow and which ones he doesn’t like.”

The Associated Press called the race for Murkowski last week when she had a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, a figure that includes the 8,159 ballots contested by Miller observers. Not including those ballots, she has a 2,169-vote lead.

-CNN Political Coverage Manager Steve Brusk contributed to this report


CNN Political Ticker

Alaska Election Heads to State Court

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Alaska’s bitterly contested U.S. Senate race headed to state court when Joe Miller (R) sued the state over the way write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) have been counted, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Miller is trying to stop the state from using discretion in determining voter intent on write-in ballots.

“State law stipulates that write-in ballots must have the provided oval filled in and the candidate’s last name or name written as it appears on their declaration of candidacy… The state, however, cites case law in counting Murkowski ballots containing misspellings or those phonetic to her name.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Barbara Bush to Palin: stay in Alaska

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - Sarah Palin may not have the biggest fan in former first lady Barbara Bush.

“I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful,” Barbara Bush said. “And she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.”

Bush, along with her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, spoke to CNN’s Larry King in an interview set to air Monday.

President Bush discussed the Tea Party movement, and although he said “some of the ideas make a lot of sense,” he said he isn’t sure how the new movement will fit into the larger political landscape.

The former first couple also talked about their son, former President George W. Bush’s new book, “Decision Points.”

“I loved the book,” Barbara Bush said. “I thought it was very frank. He’s not trying to write a biography, he’s trying to tell how it is in the White House.”

Her husband agreed that it was “good” and “from the heart.”

“I think he’s done a good job selling the darn thing, he’s been out there all over the place,” the former president said.


CNN Political Ticker

TRENDING: Barbara Bush to Palin: stay in Alaska

November 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(CNN) - Sarah Palin may not have the biggest fan in former first lady Barbara Bush.

“I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful,” Barbara Bush said. “And she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.”

Bush, along with her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, spoke to CNN’s Larry King in an interview set to air Monday.

President Bush discussed the Tea Party movement, and although he said “some of the ideas make a lot of sense,” he said he isn’t sure how the new movement will fit into the larger political landscape.

The former first couple also talked about their son, former President George W. Bush’s new book, “Decision Points.”

“I loved the book,” Barbara Bush said. “I thought it was very frank. He’s not trying to write a biography, he’s trying to tell how it is in the White House.”

Her husband agreed that it was “good” and “from the heart.”

“I think he’s done a good job selling the darn thing, he’s been out there all over the place,” the former president said.


CNN Political Ticker

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