WASHINGTON – Joe Miller is a man who knows how to pull off a political miracle, and he believes he is on the verge of making history repeat in Alaska.
Four years ago, the little-known attorney from Fairbanks knocked off entrenched incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in a major upset in the GOP primary.
As WND’s Selena Owens described last week, an alarmed GOP establishment then teamed up with the Democratic establishment, and the senator retained her seat by winning in the November general election.
This time, Miller is facing what he described to WND as two establishment candidates in Tuesday’s GOP primary, but said, “This is going to be another upset. We’re going to shock the world again.”
Although the establishment has poured millions into the race, the biggest obstacle this time around, according to Miller, isn’t really money. It has been getting the word out to Alaskans about just how popular his campaign is with top conservatives.
He has been endorsed by such conservative stars as Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Mike Huckabee, Dr. James Dobson and retired Gen. Jerry Boykin.
But, he said, that has received little attention in the mainstream press.
Despite that, he called the three-way race in Tuesday’s election a genuine toss-up, because, with more than 40 percent of voters undecided, voter turnout would be the key. Miller predicted his grassroots get-out-the-vote effort would make all the difference.
The Fairbanks attorney told WND the big change in the race lately has been the strength he has gained in Anchorage, partly because he has been gaining momentum with the undecideds, who are breaking his way.
Political polls in the expansive, sparsely populated state are notoriously unreliable, but the mainstream media has steadily characterized former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan as the leader, followed by current Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, then Miller.
But, as Owens reported in WND, Alaska Democratic Party Communications Director Zach Fields recently mused, “For folks on the ground in Alaska, Miller is actually running a lot better campaign than last time. … And I would say, based on what we know of the unreliable polling in Alaska, he has a very clear chance to win.”
Additionally, James Muller, professor of political science at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, said the race has tightened. He agreed with Miller that turnout would be the key in a state with only 500,00 registered voters.
Miller said his own polling shows the three candidates are all within single-digits of each other.
“What makes us most excited about tomorrow (Tuesday) is what we’re seeing on the ground,” exclaimed Miller, adding, “We are seeing far more volunteers all across the state than the other candidates, more people than theirs, combined. Far more signs and sign-wavers across the state. We had a huge turnout just this morning in Anchorage.”
His sense of excitement is palpable, calling the mood of the campaign “overwhelmingly positive.”
“We can smell it in the air, and we can see it on the ground: The momentum has clearly shifted in our direction and we expect a positive result.”
Miller said the most important thing for his campaign lately has been to get out the word to the undecided 40 percent that “there is a lot of contrast” between him and the other two the candidates. “Both these guys are establishment guys” who, he said, have veered from pro-life and anti-amnesty positions.
According to the AP, Sullivan “is backed by national GOP power-brokers like Karl Rove and has raised $4.2 million, nearly four times as much as either rival.”
According to Miller, Sullivan has received $300,000 to $400,000 from pro-gay marriage activist billionaire Paul Singer, while Owens reported, “Treadwell received accolades and support from the ACLU for adopting a regulation that allows people to select whatever gender they want on their driver’s licenses.”
“Dan (Sullivan) is the Karl Rove guy,” said Miller. “Treadwell is Murkowski’s Alaska-establishment guy. We hope they split that vote. But, there’s a lot of money in this race that we don’t have our fingers on. So, we’re not taking anything for granted, but the endorsements should help.”
Palin gave Miller a ringing endorsement on her Facebook page, saying, “[W]e must send fighters to the U.S. Senate who will stop Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of the nation we love.”
She called Miller “the man who understands this key to our state and country’s future also has the guts, wisdom, experience and optimism to fight for what is right – and win.”
“We said we’d send the good guys in Washington their reinforcements, so Alaska, here we go! Vote for Joe Miller on Tuesday and shake off the liberal stranglehold so we can get on the right track,” Palin added emphatically.
Miller picked up another big endorsement Monday, when Dr. James Dobson, founder of Family Talk radio, called him “exactly the kind of candidate we need to turn this country around.”
Dobson added, “We need leaders with the courage to stand strong for conservative values in this battle. Joe Miller is such a leader – one who will not only vote his convictions in the U. S. Senate, but will also lead the fight to defend life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.”
While the big names back Miller, it is the grassroots that would have to carry him to victory.
On Sunday, AP claimed Sullivan was running “a sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation that includes statewide field offices, a robust roster of paid staff with national political experience and his own cadre of local volunteers” in comparison to Miller’s “threadbare operation, with just four paid staff.”
However, AP conceded Miller’s “supporters are a constant, rambunctious presence waving signs on street corners across the state.”
In fact, Miller is relying on those rambunctious supporters to turn out the grassroots voters.
“We’ve got an incredible base of support that outnumbers, by a long shot, the Sullivan and Treadwell campaigns. In phone call surveys we did last week, we got more votes than the other two combined,” he said. “That is anecdotal and not scientific, but it is a good sign.”
“But the main battleground is in the competition of ideas,” the tea-party favorite stressed. “Neither of the others are 100 percent pro-life; both have compromised. Both have compromised on amnesty. I am the only 100 percent anti-amnesty candidate. The only one who is 100 percent pro-Second Amendment rights.”
According to WND’s Owens, that contrasts with “Sullivan’s and Treadwell’s support for amnesty – both refusing Miller’s request to sign a pledge taking a stance against amnesty – no call for impeachment and no support for the right to bear arms. Sullivan opposed Stand Your Ground legislation, and Treadwell supports hunting and recreation shooting rights.”
On other issues, Miller calls for Obama’s impeachment, supports a full repeal of Obamacare, advocates for balancing the budget and cutting federal spending and backs traditional marriage.
In addition to the major personality endorsements, Miller said he had all the grassroots endorsements in the state, including that of the largest two statewide organizations.
He said the endorsement from the Conservative Patriots Group was by an overwhelming margin of “more votes than all other candidates combined,” adding, “The Alaska Republican Assembly, another grassroots conservative group, endorsed us with more than two-thirds of their vote.”
Miller is also supported by Anchorage Tea Party, Alaska Right to Life, Alaska Republican Assembly, Gun Owners of America, National Association of Gun Rights and Conservative Campaign Committee.
Both Sullivan and Treadwell supported Murkowski in 2010.
The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary is expected to face Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who has no serious primary challenger, in November.
Miller predicts he will win that election, too.
The conservative predicted by then he will have “the momentum necessary to completely obliterate Begich in the general election.”
“He votes with Obama 97 percent of the time,” he said. “It’s going to be a test of our philosophies in the general election: Obama’s socialist agenda versus limited government federal-libertarianism.”
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