Miller Kicks Off Campaign in Wasilla

Candidate Joe Miller, with family in front row.
Candidate Joe Miller, with family in front row.

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller kicked off his campaign last night in Wasilla before a few hundred supporters. Miller drew cheers as he hit on popular Tea Party themes, like abolishing the IRS and ending state surveillance. And he may be the only candidate in the race with a personalized country-western anthem.

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“When Alaska needs anything done they say, ‘get Joe to do it. Joe Miller’s the one,'” says the song, written by a fan Miller met in Kansas.

The kick-off included music videos, two live singers and conservative talk show host Lars Larson, who broadcast his nationally syndicated show yesterday from Wasilla. Big Lake Pastor Ethan Hansen led the opening prayer and later told the crowd he likes Miller for three reasons. Among them: “No. 3: He understands that we need a transformation in our country,”Hansen said.  “The days are long past when a little tweaking could fix America.”

Joe Miller supporters stand for national anthem.
Joe Miller supporters stand for national anthem.

Miller, a veteran and Yale-educated lawyer, says he’s the true conservative in the race, although his two Republican rivals are also vying for the title. When he took the stage, Miller portrayed government as an oppressive force that robs people of their liberty and impedes success.

“They need to understand that the people have had it,” Miller said. “That’s why you’re here today. This is about ‘we the people.’ It’s not about Joe Miller. It’s about restoring you to your rightful position, where government is the servant and you are the master.”

In 2010, Miller beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the primary election, though she kept her seat by winning the general as a write-in.  Miller didn’t mention the series of damaging revelations that emerged that year, except for a joke about the time a security team guarding Miller handcuffed a journalist after a campaign event. Miller made the aside as he was introducing his four younger children, who were on stage with him in Wasilla.

“They’re all martial arts experts,” Miller said. “We learned that from the 2010 race. We needed in-house security. So I don’t have to bring my handcuffs any more.”

Despite a low campaign profile in recent months, Miller has been raising money. On that score, he’s in third place in the three-way Republican race, but gaining on Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.