Republican candidate Joe Miller took his challenge of the outcome of Alaska’s disputed U.S. Senate race to the state Supreme Court Friday. He is asking the state’s highest court to overturn a decision by a Superior Court judge that was favorable to write-in candidate and incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Superior Court Judge William Carey last Friday (Dec. 10) dismissed Miller’s challenge of the criteria that the Alaska Division of Elections used to count the write-in ballots for Murkowski (see Daily GPI, Dec. 14). Miller, an attorney who was backed by former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, wants the court to toss out the votes which were counted despite the misspelling of Murkowski’s name.

Carey ruled that the Division of Election’s method for counting the write-in votes for Murkowski — where her name was misspelled but the voter’s intent was clear — was valid and rejected all of Miller’s claims.

If unsuccessful at the Alaska Supreme Court, Miller has indicated that he may take his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Murkowski launched her write-in campaign as an independent after losing to Miller in the Republican primary in August (see Daily GPI, Sept. 9). Murkowski declared victory in late November with a more than 10,000-vote lead over Miller, of which more than 8,000 ballots were challenged by the Miller camp (see Daily GPI, Nov. 19).

Failure to resolve the court proceedings and certify the election results within the next few weeks would prevent Murkowski from being sworn in on Jan. 3 and could cause her to lose her seniority in the Senate.

A seniority loss could take Murkowski from her current rank of 43rd to 100th. And she could lose her position as ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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