Begich to Miller: Drop Senate challenge

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2010

JUNEAU - U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says Republican Joe Miller is putting personal ambition ahead of Alaska's interests and should drop his legal challenge to last month's election.

Unofficial results show Miller lost to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who mounted a write-in campaign after losing her primary to him. But Miller is challenging how the state conducted the election - an endeavor that Begich, a Democrat, calls "virtually certain to fail."

Miller has said he believes he is doing the right thing. On Monday, his attorneys asked a judge to rule that as a matter of law, there should be no exceptions in how write-in ballots are counted. That means that any ballots that were counted for Murkowski's tally and contained misspellings or otherwise did not follow the letter of the law should not be counted.

The state has defended its use of discretion in determining voter intent and asked the judge to rule in its favor. A hearing on both requests is set for Wednesday.

Miller defended his actions again in a statement Monday, in which he also told Begich to "get back to work and stop wasting time in D.C."

Begich joined with attorneys for the state and Murkowski in arguing a failure to certify the race by the time the new Congress is sworn in next month could deny Alaska full representation. Murkowski attorneys contend it also could cost her seniority.

The state GOP has called on Miller to concede.

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