Sunday, April 14, 2013

Joe Miller To Launch Exploratory Committee For Possible 2014 Run Against Senator Mark Begich, But February 2013 PPP Poll Showed Him The Weakest Republican

On April 14th, 2013, various Alaska media outlets are reporting that former U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller will be taking the first step towards an encore run. He's preparing to launch an exploratory committee as a first step towards challenging Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Begich in 2014; Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is the other Republican who's launched a committee. Stories, with public comments, are published in the Anchorage Daily News, on KTUU Channel 2, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A national story was published by Roll Call.

Miller has published a full explanation on Restoring Liberty. He writes "Serious times call for bold measures. With the re-election of Barack Obama, our very way of self-government is in peril. The Constitution is under attack, the value of human life degraded, religious liberties are threatened, the Second Amendment is increasingly in jeopardy, and the right to protection from unlawful search and seizure is giving way to a virtual surveillance State". Miller notes that he is unaware of any other potential candidate who has demonstrated a willingness to challenge the status quo, and confront the culture of corruption that reaches to the highest levels of American government, which means he doesn't believe Mead Treadwell will sufficiently challenge the status quo.

Although Miller intends to seek the Republican nomination and cites Senators Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), and Ted Cruz (TX) as like-minded reformers, he hints that he might consider going third party if he doesn't get the Republican nod. Miller writes "I have been a Republican for most of my adult life. But I am under no illusions about the Republican Establishment’s failure to confront the problems facing the country. The status quo is not a viable option. Let’s be honest. The partisan frame of reference is outmoded. We now live under a duopoly which serves corporate and special interests, rather than the interests of the individual citizen. It’s the insiders versus the outsiders". This seems to indicate that Miller is concerned about forces within the Republican Party who want to abandon social conservatism and transform the Party into right-wing Democrats. Some social conservatives have threatened to bolt the party if it caves in on gay marriage. Also remember that Miller addressed the Alaska Libertarian Party Convention on March 16th, 2013, and was fairly well received.

Miller says there are still three questions he needs to answer:

(1) Are grassroots conservatives willing to step up and join us in the fight for freedom?
(2) Can we raise the necessary funds to spread our message of liberty and successfully compete?
(3) Can our message of liberty and grassroots support propel us to electoral victory?

The amount of money needed will be astronomical. To illustrate, Mark Begich raised $948,000 from individuals and PACS for his re-election bid during the first quarter of 2014 and reportedly has $1.5 million on hand as of March 31st. Begich will undoubtedly get considerable national support, so look for tens of millions of dollars to be plowed into the 2014 Alaska Senate campaign from multiple sources.

But money and popularity are inevitably linked, and when I look at comments appended to the media sources highlighted earlier, the public support has yet to materialize. Some are quite hostile towards his candidacy. Only on Restoring Liberty does he get any public support at all. Then there is the matter of that February 2013 Public Policy Polling survey, which showed that Joe Miller was the least electable of six Republican prospects with Begich leading him 58 percent to 30 percent. Furthermore, Miller showed a 63 percent Unfavorable rating in the poll. So Miller has got a long way to go to rebuild and broaden public support.

Click to enlarge or go HERE for original

I would support Joe Miller if he becomes the Republican nominee. However, I believe the strongest Republican is Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. He replicates much of Miller's vision without the attendant drama, and has proven that he can be trusted with the public's money. Mead Treadwell is quietly building a solid portfolio as lieutenant governor, and got some attention when he started advocating for more icebreakers to traverse Alaska's ice-covered waters. Sean Parnell may have the best numerical chance of defeating Mark Begich, but I would rather see him run for re-election as governor.

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