Joe Miller: From Alaska Maverick To Sore Loser

Nearly four weeks after Election Day, Alaska's Joe Miller still won't concede the inevitable.

Despite the fact that both the mathematics and the law are  against him, Joe Miller is inexplicably continuing his quest to overturn the results of an election that everyone else seems to have already accepted:

Much of America may have moved on, but Joe Miller has not. More than a week after the last vote was counted in Alaska’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, the Republican nominee continues to press his case in court in hopes of grabbing back a victory that once seemed inevitable.

Never mind that the incumbent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), has already declared that she made history by mounting the first successful write-in campaign for Senate in more than 50 years. Or that the Alaska Republican Party has called on Miller to “end his campaign in a dignified manner.” Or that there is but a sliver of a chance he could win even if all his court challenges prove successful.

Miller, a tea party favorite who beat Murkoswki in the GOP primary, has alleged bias on the part of state officials as well as voter fraud, arguing that some of the ballots have suspiciously similar handwriting. He has attacked the state Division of Elections for accepting minor misspellings of Murkowski’s name. He has complained that the hand-count of the write-in ballots started too early to give him enough time to train his volunteers to monitor the outcome.

And he has asked for a hand recount of all the ballots, saying the machine-counted votes that went largely for him should receive the same scrutiny – and potentially benefit of the doubt – as the write-in ones cast for Murkowski.

“Lisa Murkowski’s were counted by hand, allowing those not automatically tallied by the voting machines to be reviewed and counted. If Miller’s ballots were given the same review, he will likely gain numerous votes,” Randy DeSoto, a Miller campaign spokesman, said in an e-mail.

According to the state’s unofficial results, Murkowski won a solid victory with about 40 percent of the vote. Miller received about 35 percent, and 23 percent went to Democrat Scott McAdams, who has conceded defeat.

Miller’s campaign has flagged about 8,000 votes as problematic because of misspellings and other problems. But even if a judge sided with Miller and ordered all those votes thrown out, he would fall short.

“I’m just going to be very straightforward here. I think that race is over,” said former congressman Norm Coleman, a Republican who was defeated in the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. That contest dragged on for eight months after Election Day as the candidates battled in court before Democrat Al Franken was declared the winner.

“The counting’s been done. I’m not sure that anything is going to change,” Coleman said in a C-SPAN interview set to air Sunday. “Without criticizing Joe Miller, I would offer him advice . . . that I think it’s time to move on, that there’s not much you can gain by extending the process.”

When Norm Coleman is telling you to give up, it’s pretty clear that it’s time to give up I think.

More broadly, I don’t quite understand what Miller thinks he’s doing here. There’s virtually no chance that courts are going to invalidate enough write-in ballots to allow him to win, and even less of a chance that they’re going to authorize the hand recount that he is now demanding, a recount for which there does not appear to be any legal basis in Alaska law. All he’s doing at this point is forcing the state to defend a lawsuit that he has little chance of winning, and costing the taxpayers money. Which is an odd thing for a guy who campaigned on fiscal conservatism to be doing when you think about it.

Even some of Miller’s supporters seem to recognize that he’s only hurting himself at this point:

“He has two things to worry about. He has his future political reputation, but he also has right and wrong on the line. If wrong was done, then it needs to be corrected,” Burke said last week. “I think by next week, either Joe has to have some pretty compelling evidence to show the public, or he needs to just fold up his luggage and just call it a day.”

Some would say that day has already passed, but if Miller does have the idea of challenging Democrat Mark Beglich in 2014 as some have speculated, he’d do well to learn that the time to be a gracious loser has long passed.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jim Treacher says:

    Yeah, be a gracious loser. Like, say, launching a write-in campaign after losing the primary.

  2. mantis says:

    Yeah, be a gracious loser. Like, say, launching a write-in campaign after losing the primary.
    Yeah, Senator Murkowski should really be gracious and just concede.  That would be the honorable thing to do.  Wait, she won?  Well, I guess the good people of Alaska wanted something a bit different than what the teatard band of freaks that makes up Republican primary voters there chose for them.  How dare she thwart the will of such a small number of Republican voters by gaining the support of a majority of the entire state’s electorate?  The nerve.

  3. Jim Treacher says:

    When in doubt, change the subject. It’s okay to be ungracious as long as you win at all costs.

  4. Jim Treacher says:

    Oh wait, I’m trying to use logic on somebody who says things like “teatard.” Never mind.

  5. Murkowski did what was permitted under the law. The fact that she won would seem to demonstrate to me that the results of the Alaska GOP Primary in August do not reflect the desires of Alaska voters as a whole.

    As for Miller, there is no way his challenge can be successful at this point. He lost, he needs to go home.

  6. Jim Treacher says:

    Is what Miller’s doing forbidden under the law? Or do you just not like it?

  7. narciso says:

    Actually the law was written for her benefit, a judge appointed by her father, released personnel records, much in the same way that Obama’s path to the Senate was cleared; try to actually learn some facts along the way

  8. I didn’t say it was forbidden under the law. I said it was a pointless lawsuit with no chance of success. There’s a difference

  9. ponce says:

    Do as I say, not as I do should be the Tea Party motto.

  10. Jim Treacher says:

    I didn’t say it was forbidden under the law.

    Then why is your rebuttal that Murkowski didn’t do anything illegal? I don’t remember saying she did.

  11. Because that’s the only possible response. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of Murkowski running as a write-in, but the law allowed her to and the voters of Alaska voted for her. What Miller is doing may be permitted by the law but it’s pointless and it just shows me that he really isn’t as ready for prime time as I thought he was.

  12. Jim Treacher says:

    Because that’s the only possible response.

    As opposed to a good one.

  13. Of course, your failure to respond to the rather obvious fact that Alaska voters did not want Joe Miller as their Senator speaks volumes, as does Miller’s refusal to do the gracious thing and concede

  14. Jim Treacher says:


    “Candidate X should give up because it looks bad. Also, it’s awesome that Candidate Y didn’t give up even though it looked bad.” Doing whatever it takes to win is good, unless you don’t like the person doing it.
     

  15. Jim Treacher says:

    Of course, your failure to respond to the rather obvious fact that Alaska voters did not want Joe Miller as their Senator speaks volumes

    As does your triumphalism before the whistle blows.

  16. Except Miller cannot possibly win at this point.
    How hard is that to understand ?

  17. As does your triumphalism before the whistle blows.

    What triumphalism?  I am pointing out the rather obvious fact that even if Miller gets the courts to throw out all the ballots he’s disputed he still loses by more than 2,200 votes. Personally, I couldn’t care less about whether he or Murkowski wins but if she’s who the voters want, they’re entitled to their choice
     
     

  18. Jim Treacher says:

    Except Miller cannot possibly win at this point.

    That’s what a lot of people said about Murkowski.

  19. Jim Treacher says:

    I am pointing out the rather obvious fact that even if Miller gets the courts to throw out all the ballots he’s disputed he still loses by more than 2,200 votes.

    And if he doesn’t lie down in the face of such a landslide victory, he’s a sore loser. Whatever you say, Dough.

  20. Jim Treacher says:

    Or Doug. I was thinking of something squishy, I guess.

  21. Whatever. He’s not going to win. I used to think I could respect the guy but that’s gone with the wind

  22. Jim Treacher says:

    Whatever. He’s not going to win. I used to think I could respect the guy but that’s gone with the wind

    Which is exactly what a lot of people said about Murkowski. I think somehow they’ll both find a way to carry on without your approbation.

  23. You still haven’t explained what the value is in continuing with a hopeless lawsuit that will only cost the taxpayers of Alaska more money actually might be

    Other than stroking Joe Miller’s ego, that is
     

  24. Jim Treacher says:

    You still haven’t explained what the value is in continuing with a hopeless lawsuit that will only cost the taxpayers of Alaska more money actually might be

    The same thing that was accomplished by waging a write-in campaign that a lot of people said was hopeless. Don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t have standards, Doug. You’ve got one of each.

  25. The difference between Murkowski’s write in campaign — which are apparently under the illusion that I supported somehow — and Miller’s lawsuit is that Murkowski at least had a theoretical chance of winning.

    Miller will not succeed in doing anything with these lawsuits except enriching attorneys and wasting taxpayer dollars.

    But I see where you’re really coming from, you support Miller so whatever he does is okay. Got it.

  26. Jim Treacher says:

    “I don’t support Murkowski’s write-in campaign; I just think Miller should.” Okay, Doug.

    But I see where you’re really coming from, you support Miller so whatever he does is okay.

    I support doing whatever it takes to win against somebody who does whatever it takes to win. You only support it when Murkowski does it. Apparently you think that says something good about you.

  27. Your failure to see the difference between two obviously different situations is really rather astounding

  28. Jim Treacher says:

    Your failure to see the difference between two obviously different situations is really rather astounding

    Whereas your insistence that they’re different isn’t really that surprising at all. Circular logic is your specialty.

  29. And lack of logic appears to be yours

  30. Jim Treacher says:

    And lack of logic appears to be yours

    Aristotle, ladies and gentlemen.

  31. narciso says:

    He likes the idea that eight ‘native’ corporations based out of DC, can determine the Senator, 5,000 miles away.

  32. narcisco,

    It’s the voters of Alaska who determined that. Perhaps you and Jim need to ask yourselves why Miller, who seemed like a shoe-in in September, lost the election.

    Hint: He ran a shitty campaign.

  33. Jim Treacher says:

    We’ll wait until you find a place to put those goalposts, Doug.

  34. The goalposts haven’t moved Jim despite your insistence that they have.
     

  35. ponce says:

    Wow, Treacher is actually dumber than I’d heard.
     
    Don’t forget Joe Miller is still milking the rubes by using this “challenge” as a fundraiser.
     
    Not a bad move on his part considering his dim prospects for employment.
     
     

  36. anjin-san says:

    I guess the “they do it too!!!” defense is now a core tea party value.
     
    Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss…

  37. Jim Treacher says:

    The goalposts haven’t moved Jim despite your insistence that they have.

    Well, maybe one day we’ll solve the mystery of why Miller is a sore loser for not giving up when people say it’s impossible, even though Murkowski wasn’t a sore loser for not giving up when people said it was impossible.

    Wow, Treacher is actually dumber than I’d heard.

    No, you’re dumb. (Hey, this is easy!)

  38. Jim Treacher says:

    I guess the “they do it too!!!” defense is now a core tea party value.

    I guess double standards are one of yours.

  39. PJ says:

    The path to victory for Murkowski was rather clear, get more votes than any other candidate. And while there most likely where a lot of people thinking that it was impossible, not everyone thought it would be.
    The path to victory for Miller now is rather unclear, unless he’s able to bend the laws of math, I too can’t see how he could win despite losing by 2,200 even if all challenged votes would be tossed. Are there actually any sane ideas about how he should be able to do this? I’m actually interested, so,  Jim Treacher, if you have any, please share.

  40. Jim Treacher says:

    He should give up because he should give up. Because it’s not fair. Wahhh.

  41. Jim Treacher says:

    Are there actually any sane ideas about how he should be able to do this? I’m actually interested, so,  Jim Treacher, if you have any, please share.

    Maybe he’s exploring his options on how to do that, and this will buy him time. It only seems to be a problem because he’s a Tea Party candidate.

  42. PJ says:

    He should give up because there’s no path to victory. That’s what most candidates with a basic understanding of math do. But from your response I get it that you don’t know of any path, at this point, to victory for Miller? Wahhh indeed.

  43. Jim,

    In other words, you have no answer to a legitimate question.

    Here’s another one for you to tackle:

    It’s pretty clear that over 100,000 Alaskans decided they want Lisa Murkowski to remain their Senator. Why can’t you and Joe Miller accept that ?

  44. Jim Treacher says:

    In other words, you have no answer to a legitimate question.

     
    I just did. Try to keep up.

  45. Jim Treacher says:

    It’s pretty clear that over 100,000 Alaskans decided they want Lisa Murkowski to remain their Senator. Why can’t you and Joe Miller accept that ?

    That’s easy enough to turn right around: Why is it so important to you?

  46. Jim Treacher says:

    But from your response I get it that you don’t know of any path, at this point, to victory for Miller? Wahhh indeed.

    Never say die… unless the people who don’t like you want you to die.

  47. So instead of answering a question, you dodge it. Nice.

    It’s really only important to me to the extent that I’d like to see the damn 2010 elections over already. We know the result, it’s time to move on already because as your own answer to PJ’s question demonstrates, there is no credible path to victory for Miller

  48. Jim Treacher says:

    So instead of answering a question, you dodge it. Nice.

    I’ve been taking notes, Doug. You’re the expert.

  49. I’ve answered all your questions, you just don’t like the answer. Miller is a sore loser, I hope you’re happy with him

  50. Jim Treacher says:

    It’s really only important to me to the extent that I’d like to see the damn 2010 elections over already.

    Oh well. Guess you’ll just have to figure out a way to deal with it until then.

  51. Jim Treacher says:

    I’ve answered all your questions, you just don’t like the answer.

    Your lack of self-awareness is comical.

  52. ponce says:

    “No, you’re dumb. (Hey, this is easy!)”
     
    I was assuming you were just pretending you couldn’t understand the difference between no chance and some chance.
     
    Now I’M starting to think you really can’t grasp the difference.

  53. Jim Treacher says:

    I was assuming you were just pretending you couldn’t understand the difference between no chance and some chance.

    Of course. The difference is who you want to lose.

  54. Your lack of self-awareness is comical.

    And your lack of substance is tiresome.

  55. steve says:

    Doug-Dont feed the troll.
     
    Steve

  56. Jim Treacher says:

    And your lack of substance is tiresome.

    I sure wish I could come up with something of substance, like “Joe Miller is a sore loser because he won’t accept the inevitable, and it’s inevitable because he’s a sore loser.”

  57. Kylopod says:

    I have a question on a matter I don’t quite understand. In 2009, Franken wasn’t seated until Coleman had exhausted his legal challenges, thus denying the Democrats their 60th vote for several months. Could Miller’s legal challenges, if they continue into January, force Murkowski to temporarily vacate her seat when the new Senate convenes?

  58. Jim Treacher says:

    Could Miller’s legal challenges, if they continue into January, force Murkowski to temporarily vacate her seat when the new Senate convenes?

    Careful now, or they’ll start calling you a troll.

  59. ponce says:

    “Of course. The difference is who you want to lose.”
     
    You lost this debate 40 comments ago, Trreacher,
     
    But like Joe Miller, you’re just too dumb to realize it.
     

  60. Jim Treacher says:

    You lost this debate 40 comments ago, Trreacher,

    It must be true, or why would you say it?

  61. PJ says:

    Kylopod, I’m pretty sure that in most elections a winner is declared even if the loser refuses to concede. The difference between this and Minnesota would be how narrow that victory was, 312 votes in an election where 3 million voted. In Alaska it’s looking to be anything from a 10,000 to 2,000 votes victory in a election where 250,000 voted.
    And if this ends up in the courts, it will be speedily processed since Miller won’t be able to process a path to victory, only a path to line his lawyers’ and his own pockets with money…

  62. Murkowski would not be allowed to retake her seat in January unless the election results are certified by the state. Right now, there is an injunction in place preventing that from happening pending the outcome of Miller’s quixotic (and doomed) lawsuit

  63. Jim Treacher says:

    Hey, maybe somebody will find a bunch of ballots in the trunk of a car. Wait, no, Miller’s not a Democrat.

  64. Kylopod says:

    >Right now, there is an injunction in place preventing that from happening pending the outcome of Miller’s quixotic (and doomed) lawsuit
    Ah. That’s what I was wondering about. And that further explains why Republicans want Miller to quit. It’s not just costly to the state, but couild weaken their power in Washington, even if for a short while, just as the failure to immedaitely seat Franken weakened the Democrats in 2009. And if it happens, it will further alienate many Republicans from Palin, who’s already resented for the O’Donnell fiasco.

  65. PJ says:

    Even with Murkowski, the GOP is still going to be 13 seats short of 60, so Murkowski not being seated won’t matter powerwise. I think the GOP would like this resolved soon and quietly since they don’t want Murkowski to hold any grudges about not getting support from them, but more importantly, they don’t want the Tea Party going all crazy in 2012 demanding further purity in the primaries and bringing up how the GOP left their candidate to die in Alaska…

  66. mantis says:

    Doug, you sure spent a lot of time wrestling that pig today.  And look how much the pig likes it.

  67. Kylopod says:

    >Even with Murkowski, the GOP is still going to be 13 seats short of 60, so Murkowski not being seated won’t matter powerwise.
    That’s an exaggeration. While she doesn’t hold the pivot to cloture (and neither did Franken before Specter defected), every seat matters.

  68. rodney dill says:

    Joe Miller <–> Al Gore
    What’s the difference?
    (Hint: Its a rhetorical question)

  69. PJ says:

    Republicans have the 40 to block and so do the democrats, neither are close to the 60 needed to pass things. With Franken seated it meant that democrats only needed to get one republican to vote for cloture. The GOP will need to get 13 democrats to vote for cloture, which, while it will be a lot more likely than Democrats getting 7 republicans, isn’t really a priority for them.

  70. Kylopod says:

    @PJ
    You need to put it into the context of the other races. Republicans wanted to capture the Senate, and the signs were that they had at least a fighting chance of doing so. A large part of the reason they didn’t even come close was the nomination of Tea Party candidates over establishment choices. Nominating O’Donnell and Angle almost certainly cost the Republicans two Senate pickups that would have put them just two seats away from capturing the Senate, and some Republicans probably entertained fantasies of luring Lieberman and/or Nelson over to the Republican side. But if the Republicans somehow managed to do all that, giving them marginal control of the Senate, the Miller fiasco could have screwed it up, at least for a period of time. And that’s not to mention the fact that it’s not clear how loyal Murkowski will be to the GOP after having lost the nomination. She’ll continue to caucus with them, but she may take the Lieberman route of being a perpetual thorn in their side thereafter. So, by itself, keeping Murkowski from office in January might not make a huge difference to Republican power (though it does make some difference), but it’s part of a pile of races that altogether have weakened the Senate GOP primarily due to Tea Party influence.

  71. tom p says:

    Oh Brother, “Who is the sore loser in Alaska?”
    Doug, I thought you were better than this. Taking up for a whore like LM who took the GOPs money until she lost their election, refused to give it back but declared herself an “independent”, but now that she somehow, someway, won again…
    She is a Repub again!!!
    You call Joe Wilson a sore loser… well, OF COURSE he is (I guess he thought elections actually meant something…)(silly man) Yet when LM ignored the will of GOP voters…
    She was not a sore loser?
    I do not get this… (and as an avowed liberal, I do not have a dog in this fight)
    Tell me Doug, once again, how one election means nothing, and another means something???? (Maybe we can all just save a whole lot of money and do away with primaries?????)
    Or do you subscribe to the Christine O’Donnell theory of Politics??? Throw enuf sh*t at the wall and BY GOD something will stick??? (and eventually you will get nominated)
    Ps: Rodney Dill vs somebody with a point to make… Uhhhhhh was there a point there? (hint: it is a rhetorical question)
    Pss: for the record, I, an unapologetic liberal, has an hypocrisy detector that is going DING DING DING DING DING… When ever some body replies to Treacher…
    I do not agree with him on ANY policy positions… But he has you people dead to rights. I suggest you pause and look in the mirror.
     
     
     

  72. Palin Patrol says:

    Tom, there is a difference between primary and general elections.
    Also, breathe…

  73. Jim Treacher says:

    Doug, you sure spent a lot of time wrestling that pig today.  And look how much the pig likes it.

    Ah, Captain Teatard is above the fray…

  74. george says:

    There’s no reason to stop fighting just because you received less votes than your opponent.

  75. Jim Treacher says:

    There’s no reason to stop fighting just because you received less votes than your opponent.

    That’s what Murkowski said when she lost the primary.

  76. ponce says:

    Did the Daily Caller burn through all its start up money then shut down already and nobody noticed?

  77. rodney dill says:

    <blockquote>That’s what Murkowski said when she lost the primary.</blockquote>
    The primary doesn’t really determine the winner, now does it? Did Murkowski challenge the results of the primary? Did the primary show the will of the entire electorate?
     
    Murkowski just stayed in and entered the real election where the will of the people of Alaska was revealed. Can Miller win on a technicality? Possibly, but only with throwing out votes that everyone realizes were cast for Murkowski.
     
    Was Murkowski sore about not being chosen by her own party? Likely, but she also is apparently no loser.

  78. Jim Treacher says:

    Did the Daily Caller burn through all its start up money then shut down already and nobody noticed?

    Your frustration is noted.

  79. Jim Treacher says:

    The primary doesn’t really determine the winner, now does it?

    Gee, really?

  80. MM says:

    Shorter Jim Treacher:  No, YOU!

  81. carlomacjaw says:

    It seems clear to me what the Miller strategy is, delay delay, delay.  This cause Murkowski to loose seniority in the Senate.  You see, a recount, (which Joe would have to pay for), cannot be done until the election is certified so, let’s find a judge who will block that certification while I argue that a recount should be done.  Then appeal, then recount and by then, she will be the “newest” member of the Senate.  Sounds like “since I can’t win, let me piss her off, neener neener neener”.

  82. Jim Treacher says:

    Shorter MM: Who?

  83. Grewgills says:

    Treacher,
    Were you blogging in 2006?  If so i am curious what your stance was on Lieberman running as an independent.  Were you as strident about him being a sore loser and not standing aside for Lamont or is your position merely one of convenience?