Miller Will Not Oppose Certification of U.S. Senate Race
Federal Case to Move Forward
Fairbanks, Alaska. December 26, 2010 — Joe Miller, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, will not oppose state certification of the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. For the sake of the integrity of the election, Miller will go forward with the federal suit, which was filed last month, but required a final determination by the Alaska state court to proceed further. He will be filing a motion in federal court to stay the post certification election contest timeline until after the federal case has concluded.
“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. 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.” Miller added, “This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue.”
In its court filings, the Miller legal team pointed out several issues that require further review including: whether the U.S. Constitution’s Election Clause was violated by ignoring the legislature’s mandatory provisions for write-in candidates; whether the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause was violated by the different vote counting standards that were applied, dependent on the candidate in question; and other issues such as at least hundreds of felons voting and at least hundreds of ballots being filled out by a handful of people.
Miller stated, “We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race, but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future. Election integrity is vital.”
As Yogi Berra said, “it ain’t over until it’s over,” but this looks like an ominous development for Joe Miller:
The Division of Elections reports that it went through the write-in ballots for nearly 20 percent of the precincts in Alaska today.
More than 89 percent of the write-ins were unchallenged for Murkowski.
There were another 8.5 percent of the ballots that were challenged by Miller campaign observers but Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai ruled they should be counted for Murkowski. Those challenges could end up being decided in court.
Miller campaign observers successfully challenged only 1.44 percent of the 19,203 ballots that were counted throughout the day.
There ended up being 164 write-in votes for people other than Murkowski.
Two people wrote in Joe Miller.
As I understand it, a person who writes in Joe Miller will have their vote counted as a vote for Joe Miller; under Alaska law, writing in a name that is listed on the ballot is a valid vote.
I touched base with the Joe Miller folks, to see how they’re enduring their bout in electoral limbo up in Alaska.
They’re confident that the absentees will help Miller close the gap, and the number of invalid write-ins will erode any lead for incumbent Lisa Murkowski. They shared a chart laying out their path to victory:
First, the idea that Joe Miller is in trouble doesn’t seem that implausible; he’s been dogged by a variety of odd stories and missteps — Tweets that suggested he had the race wrapped up, his security guards detaining a reporter, admitting misuse of work computers. None of these stories seem big enough to change the race by themselves, but the drip-drip-drip may be giving some voters some second thoughts about him.
But I’m a little wary of this pollster’s results. In 2008, Hays Research’s final poll in the Senate race between Democrat Mark Begich and incumbent Republican Ted Stevens had the race looking like a near-blowout: Begich 48.3 percent, Stevens 40 percent.
But on Election Day, Stevens fell just short, 46.5 percent to Begich’s 47.8 percent.
They also had the GOP presidential ticket with the current governor barely ahead: McCain-Palin at 46.6 percent, Obama-Biden at 43.9 percent.
On Election Day, McCain-Palin won easily with 59.4 percent of the vote, Obama-Biden took 37.8 percent.
So while it’s quite possible that Miller’s numbers have taken a tumble, I am skeptical that his circumstances are as dire as the Hays poll suggests.
Whether or not this benefits the write-in candidate, Lisxzqq Murkwrwfcvplski*, remains to be seen.
* For all Alaskan readers, this is the legal spelling of the incumbent senator’s name and should be used for all write-in ballots.
A Long Island reader writes in, “We really need some up-front and easy-to-follow links for contributing to the campaigns of folks like Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell, etc., etc. You’d think these links would be front and center, but generally it’s catch-as-catch-can.”
I think Marco Rubio in Florida is doing all right, and Linda McMahon in Connecticut can obviously self-fund, but there are the links, just in case. I feel similarly confident about Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and in fact Mark Kirk in Illinois. (All of those campaigns will now write in saying “Hey, we can always use more donations, pal!”)
This is a pretty funny ad, telling the fairy tale of King Frank and Princess Lisa of Alaska:
I’m not quite panicked about that CNN poll showing Murkowski barely behind, at least not yet. Although the poll did the right thing, telling respondents that Murkowski is a write-in candidate, I think it’s easier to tell a pollster you’ll write in a name than to actually do it. Rasmussen had Murkowski behind by a healthy margin, 42 percent to 27 percent. As long as Joe Miller hustles, he should be in okay shape.
But getting this Shrek-like ad on the air wouldn’t hurt, either.
Republican Joe Miller attracts 42% of the vote in the first Rasmussen Reports poll of the Alaska Senate race since GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski announced her write-in campaign to try to keep her job.
The telephone survey of Likely Voters in Alaska shows Murkowski picking up 27% of the vote and Democrat Scott McAdams earning 25%. One percent (1%) say they’d prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
A lot of Delaware talk in this Monday edition of Morning Jolt…
Might as well address this, even though the topic has turned me into Snidely Whiplash in some corners of the conservative blogosphere. If Public Policy Polling is right, there is an excellent chance that Christine O’Donnell will be the Republican nominee for Senate in the state of Delaware…
Ian Lazarian at Conservatives for Palin contends he knows who deserves the credit: “The pollster found Governor Palin’s endorsement to actually be more helpful in Delaware than New Hampshire, despite the fact that Delaware is a more “moderate” state with fewer primary voters that identify with the Tea Party. 47% of Delaware conservative primary voters were more likely to vote for O’Donnell because of Palin’s endorsement and O’Donnell’s lead stems from her 62-31 advantage over Castle among Delaware conservatives. In fact, it’s difficult to argue that O’Donnell would be in such a strong position without Governor Palin’s endorsement. O’Donnell leads Castle by an 83-13 margin among those more likely to vote for her because of Palin’s endorsement. Castle is winning among everyone else but O’Donnell’s ability to win over those more likely to vote for her because of Governor Palin’s endorsement by such an overwhelming margin is what has her in the lead.”
Over at the Weekly Standard, fellow apostate John McCormick writes about O’Donnell’s $6.5 million lawsuit against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative non-profit based in Delaware in 2005. He notes “sought $6.95 million in damages. In a court complaint, she extensively detailed the “mental anguish” she suffered after allegedly being demoted and fired because of her gender. And, although she didn’t have a bachelor’s degree until this year, O’Donnell implied she was taking master’s degree classes at Princeton University in 2003.”
Doug Ross contends there’s nothing sufficiently shocking in the article, dismissing it as work from “Mike Castle’s Beltway cocktail buddies.”
Mark Levin griped about Paul Mirengoff; Mirengoff responds, and John Hinderacker adds a footnote, “Mark Levin has done some great work for the conservative cause, so it is disheartening to see him playing so fast and loose with the facts. There is an unfortunate tendency among some on the right to adopt the view that no one is a *real* conservative except for them and a handful of their friends or followers. This sort of divisive, exclusionary attitude is a sure ticket to perpetual minority status, and should be avoided by all conservatives.”
Notice which side in this debate adopts the left’s tactic of going straight to motive, and attributing sinister or corrupt motives to those who disagree with them. If you don’t like Mike Castle, or he’s too much of a squish for you, I can’t blame you. If you prefer Christine O’Donnell because her stances are closer to yours, your logic is perfectly sensible.
If you listen to the pro-O’Donnell folks, the two words most often cited are “principle” and either “ideology” or “conservative.” I would be a fool to argue that ideology shouldn’t be important when writing to a conservative audience. Indeed, perhaps the pro-Castle folks put too much stock on electability; a well-known candidate that runs primarily on “inevitability” deserves to be called insufferable. (In retrospect, Mike Castle should have debated O’Donnell, both as a political tactic and as for the health of the party.)
But doesn’t judgment and character belong up there, too? The list of… questionable behavior and decisions on O’Donnell is long and clear. She told blatant, easy-to-check lies on the campaign trail. Her associates recorded a video alleging, without proof, that Mike Castle had gay affairs. She left employees of former campaigns unpaid for their labors. She lapsed into paranoid conspiracy theories, with her campaign suggesting the Rasmussen poll results were influenced by the long tentacles of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senate Committee. She may have committed a crime by offering false information on her Senate financial disclosure form, reporting $5,800 in income for 2009 but later saying she had more that she wasn’t required to disclose (the exceptions are few and limited to amounts less than $250). (She somehow managed to pay $11,744.59 in back taxes in a year she reportedly earned about half that.)
Finally, experience may be overrated, but accomplishments aren’t. A three-time candidate never elected to any office, O’Donnell has no record of managing or governing at any level. The very first line of her campaign biography identifies her as a “marketing and media consultant to various clients, including: Icon Pictures’ The Passion of The Christ.” I’m glad she was there to help promote a vivid, unsparing, epically moving and controversial movie about the most important event in human history, otherwise it might not have found an audience. She really deserved a share of the residuals.
Most of O’Donnell’s defenders refuse to seriously acknowledge or rebuke behavior that would have been instantly denounced coming from any Democrat, instead offering variations of Ross’ “you just want invites to all the Beltway cocktail parties” sneers or angry demands to look into bad behavior on the part of Castle.
Levin writes in his latest response to Mirengoff, “Campaigns are waged over a period of months if not years. You try to influence your fellow citizens to your position.” This is the closest I can see to a strong argument for taking a risk with such a flawed candidate, coupled with an earlier observation from Jeff Lord, last seen laying out why I’m part of the Ruling Class or a pawn to their will: “But when is a lost election really a lost election? If the conservative agenda is to move the country away from the nightmare of the Obama-era’s left-wing fanaticism, isn’t any kind of a showing by a conservative in Delaware a victory for the larger cause?”
Is the idea is that if Christine O’Donnell can get a respectable share of the vote in a general election, we should imagine what a sterling conservative without all this baggage will do in a future cycle?
How about we skip this step and find that sterling conservative without all this baggage? If elected, Mike Castle isn’t going to be spending a lot of years in the Senate. Is there no Joe Miller in Delaware politics?
Poor guy: “It remains to be seen whether [Alaska Democrat Senate candidate Scott] McAdams will receive support from the Democratic National Committee or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. McAdams says it doesn’t matter. ’The DSCC and the national Democratic Party doesn’t even know my name. And that’s fine by me,’ he said.”
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name! And they’re always glad you came! You want to be where you can see… troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows your name!
As mentioned in the Jolt, I’ll bet you see the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee throwing money up there as soon as they look up their nominee’s name, mostly because the state has such a cheap media markets and the risk/reward and cost/benefit ratios are terrific compared to the rest of the country. Secondly, while I don’t doubt we’ll see some race that leaves us murmuring, ‘how did the GOP blow that one?’ on November 3, it’s hard to imagine it will be in Alaska in a big GOP year.
AK attorney Joe Miller may not be thrilled with the NRSC, but the party committee is spending money to prove Miller’s candidacy isn’t doomed if he prevails over Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R).
A new survey conducted for the NRSC shows Miller leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) by a 52%-36% margin. And other metrics in the Last Frontier skew the race heavily in Miller’s favor, even after other surveys show he begins his race as an unpopular contender.
Fully 57% say they want a GOPer to provide a check and balance over Pres. Obama, while only 33% want a Dem to help pass the WH agenda. Obama’s job approval ratings clock in at just 40%, while 53% disapprove.
The DNC’s Brad Woodhouse jumped on Heye immediately, “If Republicans are going to say whatever they need to do to win, I think we might be in better shape than people think.” But when Woodhouse was asked to name the Democratic Senate candidate in Alaska, which is a strong Republican hold, he was at a loss. Eventually he responded, “Well, our candidate in Alaska . . . his name is not Lisa Murkowski.” (Woodhouse fields the question at about 6 minutes in.).
Woodhouse was right about that. His name is Scott McAdams.
Joe Miller held a nearly 2,350-vote lead with 51 percent of precincts reporting as he looked to pull off one of the biggest political upsets of the year. Miller had 51.8 percent of the vote, compared with 48.1 percent for Murkowski.
As I mentioned on Bennett this morning, if this holds up, it is probably the biggest political upset of the cycle.
I’ve talked about how some of Sarah Palin’s endorsements have been longshots, and so we shouldn’t be surprised when a number of them fall short. Well, even if Miller ends up falling short by a small margin, she’s proven that her endorsement still carries enormous weight in her home state’s politics.
UPDATE: Robert Costa talked to Miller last night; his 2 a.m. (Eastern time) update can be seen here.
Tomorrow is primary day in four states, and runoff elections occur in a fifth.
Alaska: The Senate GOP primary featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Palin-backed Joe Miller is one of those races I’ve been meaning to take a look at, although it’s entirely possible — in fact, likely — that we’ll get the predictable win by the incumbent. There hasn’t been a ton of polling, and Alaska seems like one of the tougher states to poll; what little polling there is shows Murkowski ahead comfortably. It’s not unthinkable that Miller could get some traction, but it’s not yet clear that Alaska Republicans see Murkowski as an unacceptable squish on par with Arlen Specter or Charlie Crist. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 70. (The Power Line guys examined whether Murkowski rates as a “RINO” here.)
Arizona: Earlier this year, the John McCain-J. D. Hayworth fight in the Arizona Senate primary looked like one of this cycle’s clashes of the titans, but Hayworth hasn’t really been able to get within striking distance.
In Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, John Shadegg is retiring, and a crowd of Republicans (10!) seek to fill his shoes. The most famous name belongs to the son of a former vice president, with a rather odd commercial:
Somebody’s going to be sent to knock the hell out of Washington, but it’s probably going to be Pamela Gorman, Steven Moak, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, or former state senator Jim Waring. (If Gorman doesn’t win, the winner ought to hire her for security.)
In Arizona’s 8th, it’s a simpler but no less hard-fought GOP primary. Former state senator Jonathan Paton is the fund-raising leader and establishment choice, but Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly is coming on strong. A mid-July poll showed Paton with a one-percentage-point lead over incumbent Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
Florida: In the Sunshine State’s statewide races, we know four of the big six candidates. The Senate race will feature Republican Marco Rubio, independent Charlie Crist, and an underdog Democrat. Right now, that Democrat appears to be Kendrick Meek, who is coming back against Jeff Greene, who has spent a king’s ransom in his bid. (More on the impact of negative ads in that race here.)
In the governor’s race, the Democrat will be Alex Sink, the independent will be Lawton Chiles III, and the Republican will be either health-care executive and anti-Obamacare activist Rick Scott or state attorney general Bill McCollum. McCollum appears to be enjoying a surge, in the Mason-Dixon and the Quinnipiac poll.
There are a couple of interesting House primaries in Florida. In the 8th district, every Republican and their brother is itching to take on an infamous incumbent. The likely favorite is former state senator Daniel Webster (Republican–Winter Garden) but he’s facing a strong push from state representative Kurt Kelly (Republican–Ocala). The winner faces off against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (Troll–Daily Kos).
In the 24th district, incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas looked beatable even before her vote for health-care reform and more job losses on Florida’s Space Coast. If former Ruth’s Chris steakhouse chain CEO Craig Miller wins the primary, I will require an immediate catered interview. A bit behind in fundraising are state representative Sandy Adams and Winter Park vice mayor Karen Diebel.
Oklahoma runoff: Republicans in two House districts will vote in runoffs. In the eastern 2nd district, Charles Thompson, Jr. received 34 percent in the July 27 primary; Daniel Edmonds received 28 percent. The winner takes on incumbent Democrat Dan Boren, a well-established conservative Democrat. However, in a year like this in a district that scores R+14, nothing is guaranteed.
In the Oklahoma City–based 5th district, the current congresswoman, Republican Mary Fallin, is running for governor; former state representative Kevin Calvey and James Lankford finished within two percentage points of each other in the primary’s first round and face off tomorrow for the GOP nomination. In this R+13 district, the winner will be heavily favored to win in November.
Vermont: There are five Democrats battling it out for their gubernatorial nomination; the GOP has avoided a primary and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie will be the nominee.
Sen. Pat Leahy is up for reelection; Len Britton faces the tough task of trying to knock off the longtime incumbent.