Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is now wading into the intramural Republican battle in Alaska, calling upon GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller to concede the race against incumbent GOP Senator and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.
As the Anchorage Daily News reports:
Begich, though, said it’s time for Miller “to put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition and allow the State of Alaska to certify Lisa Murkowski as the winner.”
“Failure to certify the election could prevent Senator Murkowski from being sworn into office in early January when other new senators officially take office,” Begich said.
“Without both senators, Alaska’s interests will be at risk on critical issues from energy development to job creation and reducing the national debt in a way that’s fair to Alaskans,” he said.
Miller won the Republican primary in August in a stunning 51%-49% upset, aided by the support of Tea Party activists and former Gov. Sarah Palin. However, Murkowski rebounded with a write-in campaign, which seems to have overcome all the obstacles that such an effort would face.
Write-in votes for Murkowski, counting those that were challenged by Miller’s campaign but nevertheless accepted by the state, give her a lead of 10,328 votes. Even after subtracting every single write-in ballot that Team Miller has challenged, Murkowski still leads by 2,169.
Miller has filed a lawsuit to try to block Murkowski’s apparent win in the race, charging that various write-in ballots for Murkowski should be thrown out — though even the ballots he has challenged would not close the current gap. He is also urging for a statewide recount that might make up the rest. A state judge has expedited the case, with arguments set for this Wednesday.