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Mike Dingman: Miller a Libertarian? Fish on!

Mike Dingman

The Alaska Libertarian Party has a candidate for the U.S. Senate -- well ... maybe.

On Thursday Mark Fish filed for the U.S. Senate race for the Libertarian Party.

If you just asked yourself "who," you are not alone, Mark Fish is not a well-known candidate, nor does he have much of a chance to make a big impact on the race for the U.S. Senate.

Mark Fish is known around some political circles. He has been active in politics, and that can be seen pretty clearly in his postings on social media. If you go back to 2010, you can see his clear and unwavering support for one candidate in particular.

Joe Miller.

That's right, the same Joe Miller who he is now supposedly to run against, were he to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Mark Begich.

So why would Miller's buddy and strong supporter Mark Fish sign up to run against him, should he win the Republican nomination?

The answer seems pretty clear to me, Fish knows that Miller has no chance to win the Republican nomination and has no real plan to actually run for Senate.

In 2010 Joe Miller won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against sitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski. At the time Miller was considered the "ultra-conservative" option for Republicans who considered Murkowski too liberal for the Republican Party.

This was before we learned just how crazy Joe Miller really is.

Miller did not know how to handle this success. After his victory against Murkowski, and a sure victory against unknown and statistically insignificant Democrat Scott McAdams and a write in effort from the defeated Murkowski, Joe Miller engaged in a series of public faux pas that would make Toronto Mayor Rob Ford blush.

The highlight of Miller publically tripping over his own feet happened when his security team handcuffed then Alaska Dispatch and now Anchorage Daily News editor Tony Hopfinger for simply trying to get him to answer a question about why he was disciplined when he was a federal magistrate.

Even after these public failings that left most Republicans rushing to memorize how to spell M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I, Mark Fish remained a fervent Joe Miller supporter, referring to him as a "defender of freedom."

Back to 2014 -- Miller has been relegated to a fringe Republican Party candidate trailing behind frontrunner Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell. There is no reasonable political pundit in Alaska willing to say that he has any chance to win.

Also, remember that Joe Miller is no fan of the Republican Party. Miller cohort Sarah Palin took on former ARP Chairman Randy Ruedrich in an ethics allegation that ended with Ruedrich resigning a job as a state oil and gas regulator.

Joe Miller also was seen in the hallways closely and carefully strategizing with Ron Paul supporters who attempted to change the Republican Party rules and helped to elect Russ Millette as the chairman.

Millette was eventually ousted before he was able to assume his position.

So two questions remain -- why would Mark Fish run for senate against a guy who he spent so much time and energy supporting just a few years ago, and why would Joe Miller run on the ballot for a party he clearly despises?

The answer seems to be clear to me -- neither will actually happen.

If a party's candidate drops out of the race, then the party can replace that candidate. While the Libertarian Party did not need to name a candidate now in order to name Joe Miller as their candidate later -- this move helps dispel rumors that Miller will be the Libertarian candidate come November.

If Mark Fish is truly representative of the Libertarian Party's platform, how can he be so supportive of ultra-conservative Joe Miller?

Miller is pro-life; the Libertarian platform is clearly pro-choice. Miller is supportive of banning same sex marriage, where the Libertarian platform is that sexual orientation should not impact how government treats an individual. Miller rails against "illegal immigrants" while the Libertarian platform supports an easier path to citizenship.

While Miller and the Libertarian Party certainly have a few things in common, there can be no question that he should not be their representative come November, and it's unclear how someone who was so supportive of Miller in 2010 could be that bearer of the Libertarian torch.

Who will be the candidate for the Libertarians in November and will that person truly share values with the Libertarian Party platform? We shall see.

Mike Dingman is a fifth-generation Alaskan born and raised in Anchorage. He is a former UAA student body president and has worked, studied and volunteered in Alaska politics since the late 90s.

Mike Dingman