ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The State of Alaska is facing some tight deadlines as it rushes to declare Sen. Lisa Murkowski the winner of the U.S. Senate race.
They probably won't be able to do that until next week at the earliest.
Joe Miller will spend the Christmas weekend planning his next move, while the state waits anxiously for permission to get past this still unofficial race.
The state cannot declare Murkowski the winner until a federal judge lifts what's called a "stay." He blocked certification of the race while Miller's legal challenge worked its way through state courts.
Now that Alaska's highest court's had its say, attorneys for the state and Miller's legal team will go back to the federal judge to hammer out what's next.
Judge Ralph Beistline is giving Miller until Monday to respond with a written statement.
Miller says he's weighing all options, including further legal challenges to the election, pursuing constitutional claims or he just might concede.
The state has until Wednesday to respond, although Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell says he'll probably file Monday after Miller.
Treadwell wants Beistine to allow the Division of Elections to declare Murkowski Alaska's next senator.
Treadwell says state attorneys do not expect a hearing, but rather a written decision after the judge hears from both sides.
“As soon as the federal court lifts the stay on certification, Director Fenumiai will certify and then Gov. Parnell and I will sign the paperwork that goes to the U.S. Senate,” said Treadwell.
The paperwork needs to be in by Jan. 3rd so the next senator can be sworn in on the 5th.
It could make things complicated for Treadwell and Gov. Parnell who must be in the same place at the same time to sign the paperwork with enough time to get it on a plane and send it east.
Given the holiday season and different schedules in different cities, it'll be tricky, but the Treadwell says it's a priority.