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Posted at 9:05 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Alaska judge rules against Joe Miller in final unresolved Senate race

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

A judge ruled Friday against Joe Miller's (R) challenge of the vote-counting process in the Alaska Senate race, delivering Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) to the brink of victory in her bid to become the first successful write-in candidate for the Senate since Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in 1954.

In the ruling, Alaska Superior Court Judge William Carey said that Miller had failed to prove his claim of widespread fraud in the November election.

"Nowhere does Miller provide facts showing a genuine issue of fraud or election official misfeasance," Carey wrote. "Instead, the majority of the problematic statements included in the affidavits are inadmissible hearsay, speculation, and occasional complaints of sarcasm expressed by [Division of Elections] workers. Nothing rises to the level showing genuine material facts of fraud."

Miller spokesperson Randy DeSoto told The Fix that Miller's camp is mulling a decision to appeal to the state supreme court; Miller has until Tuesday to appeal. Unofficial results from the state Division of Elections show Murkowski leading Miller by more than 10,000 votes; Murkowski is also ahead by more than 2,000 votes even when the ballots being challenged by Miller are excluded.

The state has asked a federal judge to remove his stay of certification on the election results, and Murkowski's camp is requesting that the case be expedited. New senators are slated to be sworn into the Senate on Jan. 5; if the Alaska election results are not certified before that date, Murkowski could lose her seniority.

"We anticipated today's decision," Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said in a statement. "We agree with the State of Alaska that Joe is now simply trying to prevent Senator Murkowski from being seated on January 5th."

DeSoto said that the purpose of Miller's case was "to ensure that the integrity of the vote is upheld."

"The Miller campaign believes that every valid write-in ballot should be counted, but not those that fail to meet the standard established by the state legislature," DeSoto said. "Additionally, the core American values of equal protection under the law and fundamental fairness in this election require that the Miller ballots are counted and reviewed in the same fashion as Lisa Murkowski's, by hand, and that the count includes only those who are eligible to vote."

"When we've ensured that these issues have been addressed, then we'll have an accurate count, and if Lisa Murkowski's tally is greater than Joe's, then he will certainly honor that result," DeSoto added.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 10, 2010; 9:05 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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