Posted by Scott Conroy, Real Clear Politics
He may have lost his campaign to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in November, but evidence is mounting to suggest that Alaskans have not seen the last of Joe Miller.
Miller rode a wave of tea party support to upset Murkowski in the state’s Republican Senate primary before falling to her write-in general election campaign. But rather than returning quietly to his Fairbanks law office, Miller is looking into keeping his fundraising ability in tact by forming a political action committee.
“He has considered the possibility of starting a PAC and has been exploring that,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto told RealClearPolitics. “And he wants to stay involved in the political discourse as far as holding leaders accountable and living up to tea party ideals.”
DeSoto said that Miller would likely take on some public speaking engagements as he gauges the best way to move forward.
Miller’s defeat of Murkowski in the GOP primary was one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 midterm elections, and the high-profile support he earned from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin added an additional level of intrigue as the general election race took a series of unexpected twists and turns, culminating in Murkowski’s write-in victory.
Miller’s campaign suffered from a series of public relations gaffes that culminated in an embarrassing episode in which a member of the candidate’s private security team handcuffed a reporter who was aggressively questioning Miller after an event.
As a re-energized Murkowksi gained steam throughout the fall, Miller’s Election Day loss led to his decision to embark on a nearly two-month legal challenge that ended with Murkowski’s victory being upheld.
But the energy Miller generated from grassroots activists in the state was undeniable, and the Yale Law School graduate and Army combat veteran will look to enhance his image and extend his political base as he considers a 2012 primary challenge to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who has held the state’s only House seat for 38 years.
“He certainly hasn’t closed that door,” DeSoto said when asked about a possible campaign against Young. “That’s something he could consider.”
DeSoto confirmed that a challenge to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), whose term is up in 2014, was “another possibility” for Miller.
CNNÂ reported on Wednesday that Miller’s latest Federal Election Commission filing shows that he has $825,000 on hand — a hefty sum in the world of Alaska politics — which represents contributions left over from both his election battle and court challenge. DeSoto noted that some of those remaining funds will be used to pay remaining legal costs.
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