POLITICS
08/23/2010 05:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Miller Gains Attention As Alaska's Tea Party Insurgent

Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller has been getting increased attention in recent days, thanks to his endorsements by former governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express. However, his views on major issues still remains relatively unknown on the national stage.

In a June 24 interview with local KTVA-Channel 11, Miller avoided answering questions about President Obama's religion and citizenship, simply saying that he isn't running on a "birther platform":

Q: President Obama: Is he an American citizen? And is he a Christian?


MILLER: (Laughter) No comm- Look, President Obama's been elected. I'm not running on any type of birther platform. I will tell you that I am an Alaskan by choice though, and I'm going to put my documents up on the website.

Randy DeSoto, Miller's campaign spokesman, told the Huffington Post that Miller was simply being "tongue in cheek." "He doesn't doubt the president's characterization of his faith," said DeSoto, repeating that Miller isn't running as a birther.

On other issues, Miller has placed himself in line with other Tea Party favorites running for Senate seats this year -- including Nevada's Sharron Angle and Colorado's Ken Buck -- by saying that he is opposed to allowing women to obtain abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. In a recent interview with the Fairbank Daily News-Miner, he said that he is "unequivocally pro-life," except "when the mother's life is in danger."

DeSoto also told the Huffington Post that on health care reform, Miller would like to "repeal the whole law" -- including popular provisions such as prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. He said that there are some "specific provisions" that "have merit and should be considered," although the campaign hasn't taken a position on the individual parts. He added, however, that the pre-existing conditions provision is "probably good."

Miller still trails Republican incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but he has been closing the gap in recent polls. A recent RT Nielson poll, commissioned by the Tea Party Express, put Murkowski at 46.91 percent and Miller at 35.39 percent. Also, Murkowski's own internal polling reportedly shows Miller "gaining popularity."