Republican Party senatorial candidate Joe Miller greets supporters in Kodiak Wednesday evening. Jacob Resneck/KMXT photo
Tea Party-backed Republican Joe Miller was in Kodiak for several hours Wednesday stumping for his bid for the U.S. Senate. Tea Party activists and party faithful poured in to ask questions and donate money. KMXT’s Jacob Resneck was there.
— (miller pkg) 7:20 "It didn’t take … likely voters. I’m Jacob Resneck."
It didn’t take long for Joe Miller to attack incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski who’s stayed in the race to wage a write-in campaign following his victory in the Republican primary. In his opening remarks he said he’s filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against the group Alaskans Standing Together which he alleges is illegally funded by native corporations.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that it will take the FEC until after the election to rule on the complaint. But the group has already fired back with a statement calling Miller’s complaint a – quote – "desperate move to salvage an imploding campaign" as well as denying any wrongdoing.
Such hyperbole isn’t unusual in what’s become an extremely close and bitter race.
Addressing about 75 people at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, Miller described his campaign as part of a larger movement of Tea Party-backed candidates running on a platform of small government and social conservativism
Miller took questions on the economy, national defense and resource development. On foreign policy he criticized so-called nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan and sketched out a basic plan based on deterrence.
On energy issues Miller spoke out strongly in favor of coal and nuclear energy but said nothing about renewable energy. Instead he emphasized Alaska’s rich natural resources.
The Fairbanks attorney spent much of his time criticizing the expanding reach of the federal government. But he told KMXT in fishery management, the feds have a clear role to play.
Asked about the proposed Pebble Mine near the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Miller said there are known risks to fisheries but stopped short of saying whether it should go forward.
Native Corporations have thrown political and financial support behind Murkowski. And Miller went on the attack, accusing them of shortchanging their own communities and shareholders.
Miller’s campaign has long complained of media bias. After questions surfaced about his conduct as an attorney for the North Star Borough he announced on October 11th that he would no longer answer questions about his background. Then on Monday he broke his media silence and fessed up to CNN’s John King that he’d been disciplined for violating the borough’s ethics policy but said it had all occurred during his lunch hour.
Miller’s obviously gone back to talking to reporters but said the decision to clam up had been due to what he described as unfair treatment by the press.
Questions had also been raised about federal farm subsidies he’d received as a landowner in Kansas despite his platform railing against government handouts. But Miller says that’s a non-issue.
Miller has been campaigning heavily across Alaska. And it’s an extremely tight race. A CNN-TIME poll published yesterday found him and Murkowski at a dead heat at 37 points each. Democrat Scott McAdams trailed with 23 percent. The sample was 946 likely voters.
I’m Jacob Resneck