In yet another sign that, yes, Virginia, there can be consequences in politics, Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin-endorsed Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska Joe Miller has dropped to third place in a new poll after several weeks of terrible publicity.

After several rough weeks on the campaign trail, a new poll out of Alaska shows Republican Joe Miller has fallen to last place in the three-way Senate race.

A Hays Research Group poll released Thursday showed write-in candidates, presumably meaning Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in the lead with 34 percent, Democrat Scott McAdams with 29 percent and Miller with 23 percent. Murkowski is waging a write-in bid since losing the Republican primary to Miller.

Miller’s plunge in the new poll comes on the heels of several misfires in the local and national press. Most recently, Miller’s employment records from his job as a part-time attorney with local government were unsealed Tuesday, in which he admitted to using company computers for political purposes and then lying about it.

Miller had a high 68 percent unfavorable rating in the independent poll, which was taken Oct. 25-26. The poll appeared to ask the opinion of 500 respondents — not registered or likely voters, like most political polls. The poll appeared first on the local liberal blog The Mudflats.

Miller is also the candidate whose private security force “detailed” a pesky reporter (handcuffs and all) because the reporter dared to press him about a subject he didn’t want to talk about — the then-unresolved questions about his employment records.

Miller has not endeared himself to some Republicans who aren’t prepared to just support someone because the Tea Party helped get him the nomination. For instance Ben Stein, the former Nixon and Ford administration speech writer lambasted Miller in a column on Oct. 25. Here’s the beginning and the end of it:

When we think of a dangerous politician in these United States, if we are of a certain age, we think of Broderick Crawford playing “Willy Stark,” the doppelganger for Huey Long, the colorful, swaggering demagogue of Louisiana in the Depression era, in the original version of the movie about Governor Long, “All The King’s Men,” based on the eponymous classic novel by Robert Penn Warren.

We think of Stark’s motorcycle escort in their storm trooper boots and their leather jackets and their sunglasses, shoving anyone from the media who disagreed with The Kingfish out of the way and busting his camera for good measure. But we also think of Huey Long as cagey and smart (and as it turned out, extremely advanced in his racial views).

The GOP candidate for (much too) high office in Alaska, Joe Miller, who beat the redoubtable GOP stalwart, Lisa Murkowski, in the primary, with major Tea Party help, is a bit reminiscent of Willy Stark. Only stupid.

Joe Miller supposedly is a graduate of Yale Law School, as I am, and I never knew one stupid person at Yale Law, which makes me wonder if Mr. Miller really went there. A Yale Law grad would not have security guards who would for a moment consider “arresting” and handcuffing a member of the Alaska press, Tony Hopfinger, who had the audacity to ask questions about Miller’s past transgressions involving computer stuffing of a polling place in an unofficial GOP poll.


Now, Miller has said that he’s so PO’ed about being criticized about his past life and his credentials (presumably including his historian’s credentials) that he simply will not answer any questions about his past life and will only talk about big things like budgets and tax cuts.

But the character of a candidate for high office is a very big thing. So is his intelligence. Lisa Murkowski is waging a write-in campaign. Maybe it’s time for people in The Last Frontier to stop listening to Mr. Miller, prosecute him and/or his guards, and start writing. M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I.

Someone’s been listening to “Send in the Clowns” a little too often. “Don’t bother, they’re here,” is what keeps occurring to me. Only this is a dangerous, stupid clown. Time for him to go home and cool off.

But all may not be over for Miller.

Prominent conservatives — particularly those identified with the Tea Party movement — will be rallying for Miller tonight:

With his support dropping like a rock in a new Alaska poll, Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller is calling on support from leaders of the political right from across the country.

Sens. Jim DeMint. R-South Carolina,, Jim Inhofe. R-Okla., Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., plus ex-Gov. Sarah Palin and former “First Dude” Todd Palin will headline a Miller rally in Anchorage tonight.

The rally will also hear from actress Janine Turner – she played Maggie in “Northern Exposure” – who has become a frequent speaker at Tea Party rallies.

The Miller event follows release of documents in which Miller admitted to lying about using colleagues’ computers in a political poll while working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough. It is the latest in a succession of gaffes in Miller’s campaign.

With support from the Palins, and money from the California-based Tea Party Express, Miller narrowly upset Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s Aug. 24 primary.

ABC notes that Palin is coming to the aid of Miller, bigtime:

While Palin’s support gave Miller a boost in the Republican primary, she has kept a relatively low profile in her home state race. Until now, that is. Palin re-emerged this week, taking to Twitter and Facebook to defend Miller’s record and to drum up support for his campaign.

The 2008 vice presidential nominee came to Miller’s defense Wednesday after the release of records in which he’d admitted he’d lied about improperly using government computers while working as a attorney with the local government.

“Who’s the real Joe Miller? Media obviously ignores GOP nominee’s winning record, message & plan for AK to favor their Leftwinger chosen one,” Palin posted on Twitter.

Following an Alaska Senate debate, Palin took to Facebook Monday to defend Miller’s military record and attack the “gall” of Murkowski.

Palin accused Murkowski of contesting “the will of the people” by running as a write-in candidate after Miller’s surprise primary victory.

Can Palin turn election night into Miller Time?

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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