On April 19th, 2010, KTUU Channel 2 briefly reported that Fairbanks GOP activist Joe Miller has decided to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski for the Republican nomination. And Miller has already garnered support from three state legislators: Sen. John Coghill (R-Fairbanks), Sen. Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River), and Rep. Tammie Wilson (R-Fairbanks). Since all three lawmakers are explicitly pro-life social conservatives, that already sends a message about Miller's politics. Joe Miller's campaign website is up and running.
The full announcement is posted HERE. He doesn't really clarify his specific issues with Senator Murkowski, but the implication is that he doesn't think she is sufficiently conservative. Miller writes:
"I'm not a politician but rather a concerned citizen, hard working taxpayer, father, and devoted husband who believes that our country is at a crossroads. Are we going to keep faith with the Founders and defend our Constitutional Republic? Or will we continue our head-long plunge into socialism and more government control? We already know what is at the end of that road: the decline of the dollar, further constriction of our economy, sustained high unemployment, crippling government regulations, and a deeper dependency on hostile foreign powers,""I'm running to turn that around — to stand up for individual freedoms, and stand up for Alaska."
"Over the years I have seen the courage and character of Alaskans. I've witnessed resilience, strength and a determination like no other. Yet Washington never reflects these Alaskan values," said Miller. "I believe Washington can be changed."
"When I look to the future, I see a country where Alaskans can be confident in the direction of our nation and that we control our own destiny. But it is going to take courage and character to make the changes. It is going to take new leadership," stated Miller. He is committed to being a Senator who brings Alaska values to Washington instead of Washington spin home to Alaska.
Miller has stitched together a simple five-step platform which succinctly outlines his vision. He is explicitly pro-life, absolutely opposes socialism, considers the right to bear arms absolute and unconditional for all law-abiding citizens, wants to keep the Feds out of health care, and wants to ratchet down government spending and attack our national debt. He is particularly concerned about the fact that foreign countries own so much of our debt.
Hmmm. While I have no real problems with the quality of Lisa Murkowski's representation, I'd say Joe Miller deserves to be heard. Very few candidates have the stones to say that our national debt is a problem. Foreign countries holding our debt can exercise leverage over us. Should China suddenly decide to dump dollars, we could be in serious economic trouble.
Like many Alaskans, Joe Miller grew up elsewhere. Originally from Kansas, he moved here 16 years ago. After a stint at an Anchorage law firm, he became a judge. In 2004, he stepped down as judge to run for the State House, winning the District 8 primary against Thomas Scarborough, but losing the general election to multi-term career Democrat David Guttenberg by a mere 3.5 percent. Since then, he's resumed private law practice, but has remained active in GOP politics in Fairbanks.
The only other declared candidate in this race as of this post is perennial Democratic candidate Frank Vondersaar, whose primary claim to fame is that he's "anti-fascist". All candidates will be listed on the Alaska Division of Elections website. Considering Murkowski to be unbeatable, the Democrats have been reluctant to run a "name" candidate against her. But the filing deadline isn't until June 1st, and the presence of Republican opposition could encourage the Democrats to put a more prominent candidate in the race. There are three "name" Democrats running for Governor; perhaps one of them might be persuaded to switch to the Senate race. The Alaska primary election takes place on August 24th.