Why is Joe Miller being so quiet?

Tea party favorite Joe Miller, who’s supposedly running in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, has been uncharacteristically quiet. His campaign spokesman will send out an occasional press release and will occasionally be quoted. But Miller himself hasn’t yet given any public speeches. He hasn’t appeared to be actively fundraising. He’s only raised $31,900 from individuals this year.

In fact, although Miller filled out the required paperwork to run for Senate, he has yet to make a formal announcement. He can be a little edgy, but Miller, who won the 2010 primary against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is no shrinking violet. So why the low profile? What’s he up to?

For now, he seems content to sit back and let the other candidates—former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan and Lt. Mead Treadwell—scramble for the money and the attention. He’s also probably enjoying the fact that the Republican National Committee is opening at least three offices in the state and planning to spend more money here than ever before. The RNC won’t pick sides in a primary, but it’s clear that the Republican establishment doesn’t like Miller and is scared that he’ll mess up a race that they consider competitive.

I’ve been told that Miller is considering running as an independent candidate. His spokesperson, however, denied that he’s actively considering it.

I don’t have inside knowledge of this, but it seems more likely that if he’s going to change anything about his race, it will be what chamber he’s after. Although Rep. Don Young has a reputation among liberals as being a staunch conservative, tea party groups don’t see him that way. His “conservative” ratings, conducted by the Heritage Foundation, and Americans for Prosperity, are near the bottom. And in 2008, the Club for Growth sunk money into now Gov. Sean Parnell’s race to unseat Young. The group would likely do so again.

Miller would also have more like-minded companions in the House and would get a lot more attention running against Young than he will if he continues to run for Senate. And Miller likes attention.

It makes sense. Besides, it would be fun to see the two debate.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com