Republican Joe Miller announced late Sunday that he would not stand in the way of Lisa Murkowski's certification as the winner in Alaska's U.S. Senate race but vowed to continue his fight in federal court. Miller's decision paves the way for Murkowski to be named the official winner of the race.
"We want the end result of this legal action to be for the people of Alaska to not only have full faith in the outcome of this race but a confidence in the manner in which elections will be conducted in our state in the future," Miller said in a statement. "Election integrity is vital."
Miller justified his decision by saying he wanted Alaska to have full representation in the 112th Congress, set to begin next week.
"This decision will allow Alaskans to focus on bringing fairness and transparency to our elections process without distraction of the certification issue," Miller said.
Earlier this month, Alaska's Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision and struck down Miller's claims that the Alaska Elections Division broke the law by counting write-in ballots that were misspelled but represented voter intent.
"We do not interpret the statute to require perfection in the manner that the candidate's name is written on the ballot. Our prior decisions clearly hold that a voter's intention is paramount," the Supreme Court said in its ruling.
"It is Miller's interpretation of the statute that would erode the integrity of the election system, because it would result in disenfranchisement of some voters and ultimately rejection of election results that constitute the will of the people," the court said.
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline also threw out Miller's claim of election fraud.
Miller's Challenges to Murkowski Kept Elections Board From Certifying Result"We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code, without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment," Miller's campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto said in a statement. "We are reviewing the court's ruling and will be weighing our options."
Beistline blocked the elections division from certifying the results to give Miller time to appeal while expressing his wish that Alaska should have a senator in place when Congress' new term begins, even if that meant later having to replace that person when all legal disputes were eventually resolved, according to The Associated Press.
Murkowski led Miller by more than 10,000 votes, thanks to a write-in campaign that was challenged by Miller every step of the way.
The incumbent senator -- only the second in U.S. history to wage a successful write-in campaign -- declared victory Dec. 17, but Miller's legal challenges had kept the elections board from certifying the result.
Miller gained national stardom when he defeated Murkowski in a primary that stunned the political world. The attorney and father of eight had no pevious political experience and little money in his coffers, but he quickly gained momentum, thanks to Palin's endorsement and funding from the Tea Party Express.
Miller's popularity quickly fizzled as Murkowski began her own write-in campaign, despite being stripped of her post in the Republican leadership and losing the establishment's support, and local media questioned Miller's time as attorney at the Fairbanks North Star Borough.