Alaska judge declares Murkowski the winner

Dec. 11, 2010 at 7:45 AM
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KETCHIKAN, Alaska, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- An Alaska judge has ruled that U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski won re-election fair and square, dismissing a challenge by the official Republican candidate.

Superior Court Judge William Carey gave Joe Miller a short deadline Friday for appealing to the Alaska Supreme Court. The judge stayed his order until declaring Murkowski the winner until Tuesday, Dec. 13, and it is unclear whether he meant Monday, Dec. 13, or Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Murkowski, seeking a second term in the Senate, lost the August Republican primary to Miller, a Tea Party favorite endorsed by former Gov. Sarah Palin. She then ran as a write-in candidate, winning by about 10,000 votes.

Carey said Miller presented no evidence to back up his claim of election fraud. He also said election officials used the correct standard when they accepted ballots where Murkowski's name was misspelled but she was clearly the intended choice.

The judge also said Murkowski would still be the winner if all ballots challenged by Miller were disallowed.

A federal judge has ruled Murkowski cannot be certified as the winner while the legal challenge is still open. Murkowski, who remains a Republican, has said she might lose her seniority if she is not sworn in with the new Congress.

Randy DeSoto, a Miller spokesman, said he is still trying to decide whether to appeal Carey's ruling, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

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