LOS ANGELES – Alaska’s Supreme Court ruled against Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller, sounding the death knell of his campaign against fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski.
The court ruled that Alaska was right in counting write-in ballots for Murkowski, even when her name was not spelled correctly. Miller had challenged his rival over more than 8,000 of the handwritten ballots he claimed contained misspellings and other errors.
Murkowski finished the November 2 polls 10,000 write-in votes ahead of Miller.
The write-in ballots were cast after Miller defeated Murkowski in the Republican primaries that chose a Senate candidate for Alaska.
The Alaska court ruling leaves Miller now with only one recourse for appeal, the US Supreme Court, before the results of the November election can be officially confirmed. He has 48 hours to file an appeal.
However, the Alaska Supreme Court said it had addressed the issues regarding “variations on write-in candidates’ names.”
“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified,” it added in its ruling.
If Murkowski’s victory is confirmed, she would be the first US senator since Strom Thurmond in 1954 to win as a write-in candidate — campaigning on an independent ticket, with voters having to write in her name on the ballot slip.
Miller — an attorney by training with a degree from Yale Law School — is a figurehead for the Tea Party activists, who call for the narrowest interpretation of the US Constitution.