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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 12/27/2010

Joe Miller won't block certification of Lisa Murkowski Senate win

By Felicia Sonmez

Attorney Joe Miller (R) will not oppose Alaska officials' certification of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) as the winner of the state's Senate race, a move that draws to a close Miller's nearly two-month battle and all but assures that Murkowski will be sworn in for a second full term next month.

Miller announced late Sunday that he won't seek to block officials' certification of Murkowski, who is on track to become the first person since Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in 1954 to win election to the Senate as a write-in candidate.

But Miller indicated that he will continue his federal lawsuit challenging the way the state handled the write-in ballot count, a process that did not appear likely to derail the chances of the winner being seated when the new Congress convenes Jan. 5.

"After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward," Miller said in a statement. "The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month. This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue."

The Alaska Supreme Court last week decided against Miller, ruling that there had been no evidence of wrongdoing in the state's write-in ballot-counting process. Even if Miller had won in the court battle, he still would have trailed Murkowski by more than 2,000 votes, a near-insurmountable hurdle.

The state has until Wednesday to respond to Miller's decision to go ahead with the federal suit. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline has indicated that he will probably lift his order staying certification of the results, clearing the way for Murkowski to be seated early in January.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 27, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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