Republicans ask Miller to explain his background

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prominent Republicans are asking Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller to begin to be more transparent about his background, following his decision to not talk to Alaska media about his past.

The 40-member group, mostly members of the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee, called on Miller to uphold the party's standards of transparency and openness.

"We ask Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller to honestly and directly answer all questions asked him by the public and the press, and to allow the release of relevant documents that will show Alaska voters that he is both qualified and morally fit to represent our state in the United States Senate," the letter sent Wednesday read.

Among those signing it were prominent Juneau Republicans Paulette Simpson and Stephanie Madsen.

"We have been hearing from many Republicans who are uncomfortable with Joe's stonewalling of the press," Simpson said.

The letter is not meant to take sides in the intra-party battle between Murkowski and Miller, she said, but to ensure that the party's nominee reflected well on the party.

After a press conference in Anchorage, Miller said he was no longer going to answer questions about his personal background, but he had also declined to answer questions from the Empire about statements he'd made in his 2004 campaign.

He's continued to present his side of the issues that led to him being disciplined by his employer, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, but only outside Alaska.

In response to a request for an interview with Miller, spokesman Randy DeSoto responded to asked what the topic would be, but there was no response from Miller.

The two Juneau Republicans were among 40 signers statewide that also included former Republican House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage, and Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, both of whom recently ran for statewide office as Republicans.

Former Sitka Mayor Fred Reeder, who is not supporting fellow former Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams but has instead endorsed Murkowski, said he was speaking as a Republican when he called on Miller to be open.

"You should know somebody's background if you are going to vote for them," he said. "It lets the voters know who you are and what you stand for."

A former Republican Central Committee member, Errol Champion, who is no longer registered as a Republican, also signed the letter.

"I think this guy needs to come clean, that's just part of being in politics," he said. Champion, of Juneau, is a contractor and former City Assembly member.

One of the notable names on the list was former Rep. Bud Fate, R-Fairbanks. He is the father-in-law of Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

Fate told the Anchorage Daily News he signed the letter after Miller, not Sullivan, was introduced as his son-in-law, with an implied endorsement, and did nothing to correct the record.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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