Published November 11, 2010
JUNEAU, Alaska -- A new strategist for Joe Miller's campaign raised the specter of voter suppression and fraud in the Alaska Senate race, but offered little proof to back up those claims Thursday.
Floyd Brown, who was behind the infamous Willie Horton ads during the 1988 presidential campaign, said a voter fraud hot line has been set up for people to call if they had been intimidated. The number asks callers to leave a "detailed message of vote fraud in your area."
He said there had been "serious allegations" of fraud and voter intimidation but offered no solid proof or names, save an affidavit from a Fairbanks poll watcher, Rocky MacDonald, who cited such things as an unsecured ballot box that left him wondering "about the integrity of our state operation of polling places."
MacDonald said the Miller campaign asked him to fill out the affidavit after he reported what he'd seen at the polling place. He said didn't really have complaint about the election judges, just the process.
"It's the whole system. It's wide open to problems," said MacDonald, who was a first-time poll watcher for the state Republican Party on Election Day.
Brown also said the campaign planned to sue for voter rolls to match them against votes counted in certain precincts. He said "unreasonably low" voter turnout for such a high-profile race suggested voter suppression.
Turnout currently stands at 47 percent, with thousands of votes yet to be tallied that would boost it. The 2006 general election had a turnout of around 50 percent.
Brown referred to himself as a "volunteer strategist" who responded to a nationwide call to help Miller's campaign in the wake of last week's too-close-too-call election.
He was a founding chairman of Citizens United, the group whose lawsuit paved the way for unions and corporations to use their own money to run ads for or against candidates.
That use of corporate dollars was decried by Miller during the campaign, when he complained about a PAC formed by Alaska Native corporations that spent nearly $1.3 million to support his rival, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said Brown, identified as a "Miller adviser" in a news release, spoke for the campaign "certainly in this event."
Write-in ballots led Miller by 10,799 votes in initial and absentee returns. Murkowski mounted a write-in campaign after losing the GOP primary to him.
Early tallying of those write-in ballots showed Murkowski undisputedly with 89 percent of that vote so far.
Murkowski believes she's on the path to winning, and her campaign manager, Kevin Sweeney, said the claims made by Miller's camp speaks to their "desperation" in the face of those numbers.