The fourth quarter officially ended on Dec. 31 and now, federal candidates — Dem. U.S. Senate Mark Begich,former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell — are busy preparing their reports due to the FEC by Jan. 31. It’s hard work. Each receipt has to be accounted for, and politically suspect contributors need to be checked, and in some cases scrubbed and their checks sent back. Some, particularly the ones who have raised lots of money and have lots of checks they are accounting for, are spending more time than others.
Senate candidate Joe Miller, for one, likely isn’t spending tons of time with all of that. From looking at his past reports, he’s not putting much time and energy into fundraising, nor is he engaging in high-profile events that catch the eye of the media. What he appears to be doing instead is taking a page out of his own playbook: he’s slowly, but surely, building grassroots support, far from the eyes of the media. Just this past weekend, for instance, he met with living-room groups in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Sheep Mountain.
Mike Coons, who is the former head of the Conservative Patriot Group and writes for a blog The Alaska Conservative, attended one of those meetings. He said that the room was packed.
Coons supported Miller in 2010, the last time he ran. This time, he hasn’t yet decided who he will vote for in the Republican primary. Treadwell isn’t conservative enough for him, and hasn’t yet heard much from Sullivan. He’s leaning strongly towards Miller because of his conservative values and because he’s reaching out to people like him.
“Stealth mode has advantages,” Coons said, who saw how it worked for Miller in 2010, when seemingly out of nowhere, Miller beat Murkowski in the Republican primary.
Indeed, in 2010, Miller didn’t file for that race until April, and only a few months prior to that, Murkowski’s polls had her positives at more than 60 percent. Murkowski had a war chest. Miller was a pauper in comparison.
Yet he won the primary. As Miller’s spokesperson, Randy DeSoto put it then: “If your message is good and it resonates with people, the person with the biggest bank account doesn’t necessarily win.”
One Valley political activist noted that people are so committed to Miller’s message, that his gatherings are reminiscent of revivalists meetings. The other candidates may have a lot going for them, but none, as of yet, have that.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org