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The Joe Miller campaign raised multiple vague accusations against opponent Lisa Murkowski and her supporters Thursday, including voter fraud, intimidation and bullying.
Conservative activist Floyd Brown, best known for developing the "Willie Horton" ad targeting Democratic presidential contender Michael Dukakis, is serving as a volunteer strategist for the Miller campaign.
At a press conference Thursday, Brown said he hoped to find evidence of fraud, as well as examples of voter intimidation.
"We're not going to be cowed by the intimidation of the people who have been running this state for decades, running it as a personal fiefdom, " he said at a press conference called by the Miller campaign at the Thane Road site of the write-in count.
Brown announced a toll-free number, 1-866-446-4138, for the campaign's voter fraud hotline. It is also seeking comments on the campaign's website.
Carefully phrasing his statements, Brown said the Miller campaign itself was not alleging fraud, but just noting allegations made by others.
"Joe Miller takes these allegations of fraud and voter intimidation extremely seriously," Brown said.
Brown repeatedly declined to provide specifics about who was making the allegations, in some cases saying people feared retaliation, but called the allegations "mind boggling."
Brown said a fisherman, who he declined to identify, was told to take a Miller sign off his boat or the company he sells his fish to would no longer buy from him. He also declined to say who had made the threat.
The only documentation the Miller campaign provided for his allegations was a statement from a Republican poll watcher in Fairbanks, which was distributed to the media by Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto.
"This is a signed affidavit alleging voter fraud," Brown said.
Brown misstated the affidavit, however. It alleges no fraud, instead raising concerns that the poll watcher had about the security of ballot boxes and faulty equipment.
The ballot box had to be opened several times to clear jammed ballots and make space for new ballots, the poll watcher said.
Poll watcher Rocky MacDonald told the Empire later that Brown's characterization of his affidavit jumped to conclusions.
"I don't know that I observed any voter fraud, what I did see was the possibility and the potential for some," he said.
Murkowski campaign manager Kevin Sweeney said there was no way to respond to Brown's allegations.
"He's making allegations without giving any meat to those allegations," he said.
Brown said many of the allegations he's raising he learned about on state's talk radio stations. He hoped to get reports to turn over to law enforcement, he said.
Some reports came from liberal host Shannyn Moore's program, heard in outlying Native communities, Brown said.
"She said she had a number of allegations from inside the Native communities of huge pressure to vote for Lisa Murkowski," he said.
"That may explain why many of these communities that traditionally have voted heavily Democratic all of a sudden in this election voted heavily for a Republican," he said.
Brown also said state elections officials have been slow to respond to requests for elections data, and that a suit will be filed Friday demanding voting data.
They want to make sure the number of people who signed the voter registers matched the number of votes tallied in each precinct, he said.