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Judge Tosses Out Miller’s Federal Suit in Alaska

Updated: 10:34 p.m.

A federal lawsuit by GOP candidate Joe Miller seeking to overturn the results of Alaska’s Senate election was dismissed Tuesday afternoon, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The lieutenant governor’s office said Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski would be certified as the winner Thursday.

“This is pretty great news,” Murkowski told the newspaper Tuesday. “It means that I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that next week Alaska will have two senators in the United States Senate and there would not be any lapse that could have happened had certification been held up very much longer.

“This signals clearly that this election is done and Alaskans are ready to move on and I’m ready to get to work,” she added.

Miller said in a statement that he was disappointed by the ruling and that his legal team is “evaluating the ruling and determining what our next step should be.”

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline wrote in his order that Miller had not raised any federal issues he needed to resolve and ordered the entire federal case dismissed. The judge also lifted a block on the election’s certification, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced within hours that the state had certified Murkowski. However, Treadwell’s office sent a correction saying she would be officially certified Thursday by Gov. Sean Parnell.

Miller said Monday that he would not challenge the certification of Murkowski’s victory, saying that he wanted to make sure that Alaska’s full delegation would be in place for the start of the 112th Congress next month. But he said he would pursue a federal lawsuit for the sake of “election integrity.”

Miller defeated Murkowski in the party’s August primary, but the incumbent launched a write-in campaign and won the general election by more than 10,000 votes. Miller has been fighting state officials’ decision to include misspelled ballots in the count, so long as voter intent could be ascertained. He contends that state law requires such ballots to be thrown out.

“What we have before us is a poorly drafted state statute,” Beistline wrote in his 14-page order. “Wisdom would suggest that the Alaska Legislature act to clarify it to avoid similar disputes in the future.”

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