ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller is continuing his fight over how write-in votes were counted in a state courtroom in Juneau Wednesday.
Miller contends that the state Division of Elections did not follow state law when it counted votes for write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski that had spelling mistakes.
While he says it's about the principle of the matter, some Alaska political observers wonder if this battle might wind up costing Miller in the long run.
“I would have told him to smile nicely, concede, be graceful, start repairing his image and work for the next four years, working hard to put himself in poll position for 2014,” said pollster Ivan Moore. “For goodness sakes, people certainly don't win Senate seats the first time out.”
At Kriner's Diner in Midtown, you'll find as many opinions as there are items on the menu.
“See it through to the end: if it's all said and done and he's lost, concede like a gentleman,” said Patsy Perry, who voted for Miller.
“I see an attitude – ‘I didn't win, and I'm going to make it miserable for everybody.’ It's kind of the way it feels,” said George Baker, who voted for Murkowski.
Some veteran Alaska pundits say Miller is taking a significant risk by continuing his legal challenges of the election.
“I think everybody's agreed: the election is over,” said pollster Dave Dittman. “Anything beyond this point is just going through the motions -- it's just posturing.”
Dittman says Miller's political hopes could improve, given time.
“Maybe it's going to be magnified. It might almost seem heroic in four years, as odd as that might sound now,” Dittman said.
To some at Kriner's Diner, that doesn't sound so odd.
“The one thing that he said that I read: ‘It's not about win or lose. it's about right or wrong,’ and I believe that -- I think that's what he stands for,” said Miller voter Cathy Bessent.
But even diehard Miller fans admit they're getting a little weary of the extended legal fight.
“Get it done and get it over with, and then say bye-bye,” said Miller voter Norma Van Horn.
The Miller campaign said he was unavailable for comment Tuesday. Murkowski will also weigh in on Wednesday’s court case, after she was given the chance to make her case that the state should add another 2,000 ballots to her totals. Many of those votes did not have the ovals filled in, or were misspelled.
Contact Rhonda McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org