Does Joe Miller Have Any Hope of Making Up Ground in Alaska Senate Race?
Someone forgot to tell Joe Miller the party’s over, the Alaska GOP Senate primary has already been decided.
Miller hasn’t noticed the lights are being turned out, the last of the balloons have fallen from the ceiling and the confetti is being swept up.
He’s still partying like there is more than a month to go before Republicans decide Aug. 19 who will run against Sen. Mark Begich (D) in November.
Maybe Miller is just having too much fun picking up endorsements from conservatives who also missed the “this party’s over” email, and poking fun at Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, another of the GOP Senate primary candidates, for attending what is being called the “Putin Pity Party.”
Or maybe the Alaska Senate GOP primary race is just so sizzling hot that he can’t back away from the flame.
Real Clear Politics has Dan Sullivan leading the GOP Senate primary pack by 11.5 points over Treadwell. Miller is so far back that it’s ridiculous. Real Clear Politics has Sullivan ahead of Miller by 21.5 points.
But conservatives are still flocking to the Miller campaign. Maybe they are thinking that if Miller does pull off a victory, it would not be the first time he has shocked the mainstream media and the elders of the Grand Old Party.
Miller rocked the establishment’s political world in 2010 when he defeated incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in the Alaskan Republican primary, only to lose to Murkowski when she mounted a write-in campaign in November.
The general election campaign was an incredibly contentious affair with Sarah Palin announcing on Fox News that October that an Anchorage TV station’s news department had conspired to run false stories about Miller on the air.
That came days after Miller’s security team arrested and held a journalist for several hours at one of his campaign events.
Fast-forward by a few months less than two years, and Miller has not gone away. Even though he was ridiculed in the mainstream press for putting a reporter in handcuffs, Miller announced in May 2013 that he was back and again wanted a place in the U.S. Senate.
The Conservative Patriots Group, billing itself as the largest grassroots conservative/tea party organization in Alaska, endorsed Miller on July 1 with 53 percent of the group’s members voting for Miller, 23 percent for Treadwell and 12 percent for Sullivan.
“With the support of grassroots Alaskans, our campaign will prevail in the primary election, defeat Mark Begich in November, and take our fight to restore freedom all the way to the nation’s Capitol,” said Miller in a statement on his Facebook page.
The Conservative Patriots Group is not the only organization ignoring the “last call” issued by Sullivan’s campaign staff, who have been focused like a laser on running against Begich as if the Treadwell and Miller campaigns didn’t exist.
Miller also received the endorsement of the Alaska Republican Assembly by a vote of over two-thirds of its convention members on June 25.
“The bar for endorsement by the AKRA is high; a Republican candidate must receive the vote of two-thirds of the voting members at the endorsement convention,” said Ron Johnson, the vice president of the Alaska Republican Assembly. “AKRA actively works to develop and promote true conservative Republican candidates for public offices. In short, we are the Republican wing of the Republican Party.”
Miller may have been busy as a third-place candidate scrambling to paper walls with campaign signs and convince voters he’s not out of the running, but he took time to slam Treadwell for attending what a writer for the Daily Beast described as a “Putin Pity Party.”
Treadwell was riding high on the endorsement of Erick Erickson, the founder and editor-in-chief of RedState.com, when the Daily Beast article hit Alaska’s political fan.
“If you are in Alaska and don’t know who to vote for, I hope you’ll give Mead Treadwell some consideration,” Erickson wrote.
“We are honored to have Erick Erickson’s endorsement. Erick is a patriot and a strong voice for grassroots conservatives,” replied Treadwell. “We appreciate his support for our movement to bring decision-making back to Alaska.”
Then came the Daily Beast article.
Treadwell was described as taking the stage at a Washington, D.C., event full of Kremlin sympathizers meant to celebrate U.S.-Russia relations and saying, “The first question I’m always asked is can I see Russia from my house,” in reference to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. He then said, “Do not forget: we are neighbors because people will be affected.”
Treadwell’s office must have been notified the article would appear in the Daily Beast. The day before it ran, the Alaska lieutenant governor released a statement explaining his position on U.S.-Russia relations, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
"My challenge to Russians is this: Where we are neighbors, help bring our relations back to normal. Help us eliminate salmon bycatch in the North Pacific Ocean. Help us work together to prevent oil spills from all these ships coming through, and help us protect food security in the Arctic. Alaskans depend on this ocean for food and for jobs.”
Miller ran a link to the Daily Beast story in his daily email message to supporters titled, “The U.S. Politicos Kissing Up To Russia (Including Our Very Own…)”
Even Sullivan, the proclaimed front-runner who is not looking back at the GOP pack but ahead at Begich, took time to slam Treadwell.
The Sullivan campaign office issued a press release that accused Treadwell of undermining U.S. foreign policy that was titled, “Mead, what were you thinking?”
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