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

Coleman Urges Miller to Give Up

November 24, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who engaged in an eight-month recount battle that he ultimately lost to Al Franken (D) two years ago, told C-SPAN that Joe Miller (R) should concede a similar fight in Alaska to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Said Coleman: “I think that race is over. I think the counting’s been done. I’m not sure there’s anything that would change that.”
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

Starting Lineup: D-Day For Miller (Again)

November 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Good Monday morning and welcome back to the Starting Lineup. On the radar today: Joe Miller (R) gets another day in court; the Virginia GOP boosts George Allen(R) to run for his old Senate seat; Sarah Palin (R) goes shopping for office space in Iowa; Pete Hoekstra (R) considers a Senate run in Michigan and the latest results from the still outstanding House races.

A quick programming note: Your Hotline On Call editor will be taking the rest of this week off to recharge the batteries and enjoy plenty of turkey and football. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

D-Day For Miller (Again): Republican Joe Miller will likely continue his legal battle in the Alaska Senate race by seeking an injunction to stop the certification of the election results in a state level court on Monday. Miller asked a federal judge for an injunction at the end of last week and was successful, insofar as the federal judge halted certification but said the issue was, ultimately, up to a state court. Miller’s deadline for filing with a state court is Monday.

Miller is seeking to have the state throw out any write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) where her name doesn’t appear exactly as it did on her candidacy declaration.

Meanwhile, one Republican who isn’t giving up the fight for Miller is Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). DeMint continues to raise funds for Miller’s legal defense fund on the Southern Conservatives Fund website. According to the website, DeMint has raised $ 152,200 for Miller so far.

Virginia GOP Opts For Senate Primary: The Virginia Republican Party decided over the weekend that it will select its nominee for the 2012 Senate race in a primary rather than a state convention. The decision is intended to prevent any surprises for former Sen. George Allen‘s (R) prospects, as he reportedly preferred a primary. Primaries, that thinking goes, are less susceptible to upsets by more conservative insurgents.

Republicans in Virginia, particularly conservatives, have preferred the convention nomination route – and that’s been the most widely used nomination model in recent years. When moderate former Rep. Tom Davis (R) mulled running for the Senate in 2008 and advocated for a primary to choose the nominee, he was shunned by the more-conservative forces backing former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R).

But with the newfound assertiveness of the conservative grassroots, even a conservative like Allen isn’t immune from a nomination challenge, especially in a convention process which increases the likelihood of an upset. With his financial and organizational advantages, Allen would be a heavy favorite in a primary against lesser-known challengers.

Allen has yet to announce that he will challenge Sen. Jim Webb (D) in a rematch of their 2006 race, but he has given strong hints that he’s seeking a rematch and is by far the state GOP’s preferred candidate. Webb has yet to say whether he will seek re-election.

Hoekstra For Senate? Outgoing Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) left the door open to a possible challenge to Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in 2012 in an interview over the weekend. “Lots of people have talked to me about that,” Hoekstra told the Grand Rapids Press, “but we just got through a grueling race.”

Hoekstra lost the gubernatorial primary this year. He is the first high profile Republican to say he is considering the 2012 race against Stabenow, which will be a closely watched pick up opportunity for the GOP. Republicans made significant gains in Michigan this November and now control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

Hotline On Call

Miller Seeks to Stop Election Certification

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Even though he’s trailing by more than 10,000 votes, Joe Miller (R) asked a federal judge for a preliminary injunction stopping Alaska election officials from certifying Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) as the winner of the U.S. Senate election, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Joe Miller Files Suit To Prevent Certification Of Alaska Senate Results

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Despite the fact that the outcome of the Alaska Senate race seems certain, Joe Miller continues to engage in legal tactics which seem designed to do little more than delay the inevitable:

The Republican candidate in the Alaska U.S. Senate race asked a federal judge Thursday for a preliminary injunction stopping officials from certifying the election.

An attorney for Joe Miller sought the injunction as part of a previous lawsuit challenging write-in ballots for Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent senator.

Murkowski on Wednesday declared victory in the race, the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign.

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.

Alaska Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who oversees the Division of Elections, has said voter intent would drive acceptance of ballots and that previous court cases had supported that policy. Elections officials have credited Murkowski with ballots that contain minor misspellings.

Murkowski has a lead of about 10,400 votes. Miller had challenged 8,153 of the ballots counted for Murkowski, but he would still be behind even if he won every challenge.

Yes, I think the appellation sore loser is more than appropriate at this point.

Outside the Beltway

Miller asks federal court to stop certification of Murkowski

November 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Lost cause?

It’s not over yet in Alaska, or so Joe Miller argued in federal court last night.  He filed a motion to an existing lawsuit to issue a temporary injunction against the state to stop it from certifying Lisa Murkowski as the winner in the Senate race, claiming that the state started counting the write-in ballots […]

Read this post »

Hot Air » Top Picks

Judith Miller: ‘A reporter’s reporter’

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Marty Peretz defies parody.

Ezra Klein

Murkowski Holds Insurmountable Lead, Miller Wants Hand Recount

November 17, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

With the numbers now completely against him, Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller is moving on the the phase of the post-election battle where the only goal seems to be to run up legal fees and delay the inevitable:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski enjoys an apparently insurmountable 10,400-vote lead over Joe Miller after the weeklong review of write-in ballots. But the Miller campaign isn’t giving up and says Alaska’s computerized voting system is “suspect.”

The Miller campaign wants the Division of Elections to recount the entire Senate race by hand, spokesman Randy DeSoto said Tuesday night.

Even subtracting all the votes counted for Murkowski but challenged by the Miller campaign, Murkowski would still be ahead by 2,247 votes. That margin appears to make Miller’s lawsuit asking the courts to toss out misspelled votes irrelevant. There aren’t enough misspelled votes identified for Miller to win.

But DeSoto said that the lawsuit is continuing and the campaign hopes a hand recount will pick up more Miller votes. There were more than 255,000 votes cast in Alaska’s Senate election.

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.

Even if Miller’s request were granted, the odds that a hand recount would uncover enough votes to make up a 2,247 margin are slim, and the odds that it would uncover enough votes to make up a 10,000 vote margin are non-existent. Miller needs to just give up at this point.

Outside the Beltway

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