Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is urging Republican Joe Miller to end his legal challenge to the ballot count process and allow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski to be seated on time.
Miller is challenging the Division of Elections’ criteria for counting write-in votes in state court and could ask for a recount if Murkowski’s lead decreases from its current level of more than 10,000 votes.
"It is time for Joe Miller to put Alaska interests ahead of personal ambition and allow the State of Alaska to certify Lisa Murkowski as the winner,” Begich said in a statement.
“Failure to certify the election could prevent Senator Murkowski from being sworn into office in early January when other new senators officially take office.”
Begich joins Murkowski and the Republican Party of Alaska in requesting that Miller, who is backed by conservative groups and tea party activists, end his challenge.
But Miller is moving forward with his challenge, and state court arguments will begin on Wednesday.
Begich campaigned for Democrat Scott McAdams during the race, but the Sitka mayor finished well behind the two Republicans with just 23 percent of the vote. If the current tallies hold, Murkowski will win her write-in bid with 39 percent to Miller’s 35 percent.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.