Looks like Tea Party Wild Card and failed U.S. Senate candidate, Joe Miller (R. AK) is trying to make some new friends before 2014:


Joe Miller, the 2010 Republican Senate Candidate, made his first major political speech in 12 months in the state and said he’s contemplating a 2014 Senate run at the Alaska Libertarian Party convention held Saturday in a midtown hotel.

Miller kept a low profile during last year’s election year and continued to make contributions to his website Restoring Liberty. He said his motivation for speaking at the Best Western Hotel was simply accepting an invitation by the Alaska Libertarian Party.

“We are obviously contemplating a run,” said Miller. “It's not even at point where we've hired people or anything like that, but we are giving it consideration.”

In 2010, Miller snatched up the Primary election after being backed by the Tea Party, however Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, won the General election via write-in votes. Her seat will be up for re-election in 2016. - KTUU, 3/17/13

Interesting that Miller, a Republican, was speaking at a Libertarian Party meeting.  Grant it, his Tea Party backed ideals fall in line with antigovernment Libertarian mentality, but it still, it's a sure sign that he's trying to win over a new base to win the GOP nominee and go on to challenge incumbent Senator Mark Begich (D, AK) in the general election.  


Next year’s elections “will be a referendum on government control,” Miller said Saturday. “In 2014, there’ll be a resurgence of those looking for liberty.”

Mark Fish, chair of the Alaska Libertarian Party and a friend of Miller’s, invited the Republican to speak at Saturday’s convention. A room of about 30 baby-boomers and a few younger Libertarians sat around white-clothed tables, speaking of ineffective incumbent lawmakers and the need to change the direction of America, sentiments Miller echoed during his speech.

Miller also touched on gun control and, more specifically, the government's alleged preparations for civil war. But despite being in a room packed with Second Amendment enthusiasts, some who often visibly display that enthusiasm, no guns sat atop the white cloth. Instead, semi-formally dressed attendants simply ate from a buffet.

After inquiring as to whether there were any Alaska media members in the crowd and brandishing a pair of silver handcuffs, Miller said outright that he hadn’t agreed to speak at the convention for political reasons. He is uncertain he will run in 2014, he told the Libertarians.

After his speech and outside the confines of the Golden Lion’s second-floor conference room, Miller told reporters he was “aggressively pursuing his options.” He hasn’t planned a future announcement, and he’s definitely still a Republican, he said.

Miller may be a Republican, but he seemed at home in front of the Alaska Libertarians, a political group that he shares many of the same views with. And in many ways, building bonds with the Libertarians is classic Miller, who has worked the grassroots of his party in Alaska, rather than the old-guard Republicans -- perhaps a tactic he's modeled after Sarah Palin, who rose to the top with a similar strategy in 2005-06.

"I’m here because we have commonality. I see more from a Libertarian standpoint,” he said, “but we have to stand behind candidates that share the same values. We cannot fracture into small groups and expect change to happen.”

Voters need to form a resolute front and stand firm against “establishment politicians,” he added. “A healthy distrust of the government is key, and I’m sure that’s an idea that’s not alien to Libertarians.” - Alaska Dispatch, 3/16/13

Miller's speech to the Alaskan Libertarian Party reminds me a lot of Tea Party Senator Rand Paul's (R. KY) grassroots campaign that helped him pull off a surprise victory in 2010 GOP Senate primary against establishment favorite, Trey Grayson.  Paul was able to get young Libertarians to register as Republicans and help Paul win his primary.  Miller might be following Paul's playbook and getting the young Libertarian crowd to help him secure the GOP nominee.  It makes sense to me because Alaska Republicans really don't want him to be the nominee:


Back to the Senate race, there's one very piece of good news for Republicans in this poll. Joe Miller has a negative favorability rating with Republican voters- 35/46- and finishes fourth in a hypothetical primary field. Sullivan leads the way with 29% to 23% for Treadwell, 20% for Leman, and 19% for Miller. Miller looks like one Tea Party candidate who GOP leaders in Washington probably don't have to worry about their party nominating next year. - PPP, 2/7/13
Miller cost the Tea Party a seat in the 2010 election due to his erratic behavior:


Miller's inability to accept defeat gracefully (Memo to Joe: Nobody says you have to like it) is how he got in a pickle in this state in the first place. And he seems to have learned nothing.

He was back to his old tricks this week after bailing on what had been a stupid and misguided lawsuit intended to punish representatives of the Fairbanks North Star Borough because he thought they revealed that he'd gotten into trouble for some shady politicking while employed there as a part-time attorney. Miller believes the revelations that he was reprimanded in Fairbanks for secretly using the computers of co-workers to try to dummy up a Republican Party poll -- and lying about it to try and cover this up when he got caught -- cost him a seat in the U.S. Senate.

It didn't. What cost Miller a seat in the Senate was Miller's handling of what had happened in Fairbanks. He couldn't bring himself to publicly admit "I made a huge mistake," treat it as the sort of human failure to which we are all prone, and move beyond it as really too petty for much discussion with weighty Alaska and national policies to be debated. But then, if he'd done that, Miller might have looked like a bit of a loser, at least in his own eyes. And he clearly can't accept this. - Alaska Dispatch, 6/21/12

Not to mention this little incident:


William Fulton is an FBI informant for the Schaeffer Cox militia trial. He made headlines in Oct 2010 for handcuffing Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger. May 30, 2012
SEATTLE -- Now that the mole who helped bring down the leadership of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia has talked publicly, the big question on some minds in Alaska is: Why was federal FBI informant William Fulton involved in political campaigns?

The controversy has erupted over the past few days, as it emerged that Fulton, an Anchorage military surplus store owner who helped gather evidence against militia leader Schaeffer Cox, had helped manage the unsuccessful campaign of right-wing former radio host Eddie Burke for lieutenant governor in 2010. He also provided a controversial security detail for U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller that year -- all while penetrating Alaska’s far-right fringes as part of the Cox investigation.

Fulton, who has since left Alaska to avoid the chance of reprisals stemming from his FBI work, insists that federal law enforcement agents had no involvement in his political activity and in fact were uncomfortable when they learned of it.

“They had absolutely nothing ever to do with anything like that,” Fulton told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “The only thing that they ever asked me to do was to look into Schaeffer Cox and a few other people. The only thing they said [about the political activities] was, ‘Hmm, Bill, maybe you shouldn’t be doing this.”

The issue has caused a brouhaha of sorts in Alaska, with the Alaska Dispatch asking, "Should the FBI have kept a tighter leash on its militia mole?"

The controversy is tied in large part to Fulton’s work on a security detail for a campaign event  for Miller, who was running on a tea party platform.

The event proved disastrous when Fulton handcuffed and detained a man who had aggressively followed the candidate in an attempt to ask questions. The man -- whom Fulton said he didn’t know -- refused several orders to leave. As it turned out, the man was a reporter and editor for the Alaska Dispatch, and the specter of a beefy security guard handcuffing a journalist  undermined Miller’s campaign. - LA Times, 1/14/13

So yeah, it's no wonder the Alaska GOP doesn't want Miller to be their nominee.  They'd rather have wealthy Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (R. AK) as their nominee since he's wealthy and can at least acknowledge some of the effects of climate change.  Miller's website has compared Treadwell to failed GOP Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney (R. MA):
Yeah, Treadwell’s a rich moderate that can appeal to independents. Romney won those voters overwhelmingly. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is the anointed candidate of the Republican establishment. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is an experienced businessman and government manager. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is a decent man who believes in a fair fight. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us? - JoeMiller.us, 12/2/12

Whether Miller does decide to run or not, he'll still try to cause trouble in this election.  But even if Miller does run, the Alaskan Democratic Party is going to take Miller seriously as a candidate:


Though Begich’s 2009 vote in favor of national health care reform remains one of his biggest political vulnerabilities, he has positioned himself as a moderate on a range of issues and is supportive of gun owner rights and drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

But despite the incumbent’s quiet strengths, newly elected Alaska Democratic Party Chairman Mike Wenstrup believes that Miller would be a surprisingly strong opponent, in part due to his avid base.

“It’ll be the biggest race probably in Alaska history,” Wenstrup said of the Senate bout next year. “We expect it to be similar to the race Sen. [Jon] Tester ran in Montana in 2012, with lots of outside money coming in and lots of negative attacks from these outside PACs targeting Sen. Begich. At the same time, we expect Sen. Begich to have a lot of support in the state.” - Real Clear Politics, 1/31/13

So we'll have to wait and see.  Meanwhile, Begich has continued to stand by his statements about ALEC Governor Sean Parnell (R. AK) and the Alaska GOP legislator's plan to suppress the Native American vote:


Many of the bill's critics say HB3 is unconstitutional as currently written and its implementation would disproportionately affect rural voters and Alaska Natives who can't obtain identification as easily as those who live in cities.

"The scheme that is set up in this bill discriminates, not by intention, not based on racial animosity, but by the way the government of Alaska has set up its division of services," Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, testified.

During a speech before a joint session of the Legislature two weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich called the bill a part of a trend to make voting more difficult in Alaska.

Rep. Bob Lynn (R. Anchorage) said Begich was misinformed and accused the senator of not reading the bill before his speech. Begich has stood behind his comments.

A 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional as long as the state provides residents the opportunity to obtain photo identification for free, according to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who testified last month about his experiences regarding that state's voter identification law.

Alaska does not offer free identification to all of its residents. HB3 would not require the state to issue free identification to a prospective voter. - Anchorage Daily News, 3/14/13

Though i don't agree with Begich's views on the Keystone Pipeline and assault weapons, I applaud him for his work for Native American affairs in the U.S. Senate:


And of course his bold plan to protect and strengthen Social Security:


Begich has already been endorsed by the Alaskan AFL-CIO and he also recently picked up another big endorsement from the The National Weather Service Employees Organization:


"Senator Begich strongly supports the lifesaving mission of the NWS to protect the people who work and live in Alaska," said NWSEO President Dan Sobien.

Senator Begich, as chairman of the Senate oceans subcommittee overseeing NOAA, pushed the agency to work with the Interagency Working Group for Alaska, a consortium of federal agencies organized by President Obama to work together to streamline permitting for oil and gas development in the Arctic.

NWSEO is the labor organization and professional association that represents 4,000 employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, including:

    Forecasters, technicians and support personnel of the National Weather Service,
    the nation's official source for weather forecasts and warnings,
    Attorneys in NOAA's Office of General Counsel,
    Technicians who track and command the nation's weather satellites,
    Civilian crews of the "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft,
    Hurricane researchers and other scientists and support personnel at the
    Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Florida. - The Sacramento Bee, 3/18/13

If you'd like to donate to Begich's re-election campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:54 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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