Grass-roots conservative candidate Joe Miller confirmed Monday that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has assured him it has pulled its legal team out of Alaska and will not try to influence the outcome of the pending absentee-ballot fight in the state's GOP senate primary.
With the race still too close to call, the absentee count probably will determine whether Miller or incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski wins the primary.
Last week, the senatorial committee sent its chief legal counsel to Alaska, and he spent three days aiding the Murkowski legal team.
Miller, who continues to cling to a 1,668-vote lead in the race, expressed concern last week that his opponents might try to "pull an Al Franken" by seizing an advantage during post-election ballot counting.
The senatorial committee's attorney reportedly flew back to Washington, D.C., during the weekend.
"I spoke with [committee Chairman] Sen. [John] Cornyn on Saturday, and he assured me he was pulling his team out that evening," Miller told MSNBC on Monday.
Miller remained unconvinced, however, that the national Republican establishment has given up on trying to tip the scales.
"We still do know that there are some national types up here in Alaska working the election. Obviously, that concerns us," he said.
Miller said his campaign is relying on an extensive army of volunteers to monitor the vote-count process.
"They're paying very close attention to what's going on within the Division of Elections,” he said. “We have the utmost confidence in the Division, but we want to make sure that everything is done by the book."
Miller added that "there have been some attempts to do things outside of the books, and we're filing complaints where that happens."
Murkowski has dismissed Miller's concerns as "paranoid."
Determining who won the Aug. 24 GOP primary may take longer than initially expected.
Elections Director Gail Fenumiai tells Newsmax that Alaska allows overseas absentee ballots to be received up to 15 days after the election.
That would mean a final tally could not occur before Sept. 8.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that 23,472 votes now remain to be counted, a number that has grown as additional ballots have been delivered.
Of those, 13,740 are absentee ballots. Another 9,069 are "questioned ballots," that is, votes whose validity has been challenged. Some of those ballots almost certainly will be disqualified.
Also, the Division of Elections reports it has yet to count 663 early votes.
Three dates have been scheduled to count the outstanding votes: Aug. 31, Sept. 3, and Sept. 8.
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