get the lawyers ready in alaska

Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

Joe Miller (left) and Lisa Murkowski

From his most recent statement on his campaign website, Alaska senate hopeful and Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller (campaign website), is circling the wagons full of lawyers in preparation for the counting of the write-in ballots cast in Alaska’s recent 2010 senate contest.

Miller states in his statement:

Previous write-in campaigns in Alaska have demonstrated that as much as 5 to 6% of returned ballots have not met the standard to be counted as a valid vote.

As with any write-in campaign, the burden of execution rests with the candidate whose name is not on the ballot.  Candidates who mount a write-in campaign opt for an uphill battle. At this point, without a single write-in ballot counted, Lisa Murkowski has no claim on a victory.

To complicate the matter, the Division of Elections has yet to adequately explain how a ballot will be marked in favor of a candidate. The current standards are extraordinarily ambiguous.

It appears as if Miller, who received 34.3% of the vote and trails significantly the 41.0% of write-in ballots cast (the vast majority of which are presumably for Murkowski), is already signaling his intent to challenge the election results in the courts.

For her part, Alaska’s sitting senior senator, Lisa Murkowski (campaign website), has pulled off perhaps the most impressive feat of the 2010 election season. While Harry Reid’s unexpected win in Nevada over Sharron Angle, another Tea Party candidate strongly endorsed by Sarah Palin, was impressive, Murkowski’s apparent victory is all the more impressive because while other third-party, end-around candidacies failed, like those of Tom Tancredo for governor in Colorado and Charlie Crist for senate in Florida, Lisa Murkowski’s campaign in Alaska came as the result of a write-in candidacy, not a third-party candidacy with an established infrastructure and network of volunteers.

Murkowski’s apparent victory in Alaska is perhaps the greatest slap in the face to Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin. Not only did Palin’s hand-picked Tea Party candidate, Miller, lose the Alaska race for senate to Murkowski (even after defeating her in the Republican primary), but Lisa Murkowski has arguably avenged her father’s defeat from four years ago at the hands of Sarah Palin.

In the end, this election was about the Murkowskis reclaiming Alaska from the Palins, and Alaska is all the better for it.

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