Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller announced late Sunday that he would continue his challenge in federal court of the write-in election of rival Sen. Lisa Murkowski but added he would not oppose certification of Murkowski's victory by state election officials.
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline, who is hearing Miller's federal challenge, had already said he would probably lift his order staying certification, allowing Murkowski to assume office Jan. 5 without losing seniority or leaving the state short a U.S. Senator. In a prepared statement e-mailed to the media about 10:20 p.m., Miller said he planned to go ahead with his federal lawsuit "for the sake of the integrity of the election."
Miller initially challenged the Nov. 2 election in federal court, but Beistline ruled he had to go to state court first. Miller lost in state Superior Court, and the Alaska Supreme Court unanimously declared last week that the Superior Court had ruled correctly.
Beistline had given Miller until this morning to file motions continuing his case. The state has until Wednesday to respond. Beistline indicated he would rule from the filings and not require oral arguments.
Among Miller's issues is his assertion that state law requires write-in voters to spell Murkowski's name perfectly. The Alaska Supreme Court disagreed.