Alaska Candidate Miller: ‘National Folk’ Working to ‘Skew’ Election to Murkowski

By Cullen Dirner

Aug 30, 2010 4:30pm

ABC News’ Amy Walter and Rick Klein report:

Absentee ballot counting doesn’t begin until tomorrow, but Alaska attorney Joe Miller — who’s currently leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska,  by 1,668 votes in the Senate primary — told ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today that he believes that “national folk” are trying to “skew the results” in Murkowski’s favor.

Over the weekend, Miller’s campaign spokesman, Randy DeSoto accused the National Republican Senatorial Committee of making calls to Alaskans who voted absentee for “nefarious purposes.”  The NRSC has denied making any phone calls.

When asked about the role of the national committee, Miller told “Top Line” that he talked to NRSC Chairman John Cornyn on Saturday and that the Texas senator “gave me his word that he was pulling his team out Saturday night.”  But Miller suggested that outside entities are still working to influence the counting of ballots.

“We know that they are still national folk up here — don't know who actually hired them. But there certainly is an effort still underway I think to skew the results in favor of the opponent,” he said.

Miller said his campaign ran an absentee ballot program and is “confident” he will prevail in the final count.

Miller is a self-described "constitutional conservative" who told "Top Line" earlier this summer that he doesn't believe unemployment benefits are constitutionally authorized.

When asked about the constitutionality of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, Miller said that while we need “to ensure that we can continue to pay the benefits to those most dependent … we are being incredibly foolish if we think that the system can continue in the way it is.”

When asked specifically what changes could be made to Social Security, Miller said that there  “has to be a transition, and we will have to determine where that point is where we transition out of the current system into something else.”

Joining Miller on “Top Line” was a man who hopes to follow in his footsteps: Brian Murphy, who is running against ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich in the Republican gubernatorial contest in Maryland.  Ehrlich is considered the strong favorite — though it’s worth noting that Murkowski was, too.

Like Miller, Murphy has been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Murphy credits Palin’s support with giving his campaign “buzz,” but said he’ll have to win it on his own.

“She can't win it for me, but she gives me the chance to be on the stage,” he said. “The reality is we want to give her a win and I think we can. I think we have 14 days left… My opponent has basically trying to convince Republicans that ’cause Maryland is not Alaska, obviously, what we are trying what he is trying to convince Republicans that they have to settle to win, and that's what the RNC is doing. They are saying a true Republican can't win anywhere in the country.  And, you know, Joe Miller saw that in Alaska. I mean, obviously he — he could have had a pretty big margin if they hadn't been meddling the whole time, and you see that across the country. You know, the Republican base wants candidates like me, like Joe.”

Unlike in Alaska, Palin has not been as visible in her support for Murphy as she was for Miller. Asked if he expected Palin to be stumping for him between now and the Sept. 14 primary, Murphy noted that his staff and hers talk “pretty much every day” but that there’s been no official commitment for a Palin appearance.

Watch the portion of the program with Joe Miller and Brian Murphy HERE.

- Amy Walter and Rick Klein

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