WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Miller campaign still had not responded to questions about Miller's stance on the 17th Amendment as of 3:30 p.m. today.
By Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Joe Miller's statement that he supports repealing the 17th Amendment – a move that would take the ability to choose U.S. Senators away from individual voters and put it back in the hands of state legislatures – has Miller’s rivals on the assault today.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign accused Miller of new highs of extremism, while Democrat Scott McAdams said Miller “wants to repeal the 20th Century."
Miller’s remark came during a town hall meeting last night in Fairbanks, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Here’s what the paper reported:
Miller said the federal government must get its nearly $14 trillion in debt under control before any major changes are made with the retirement system, but warned that if federal spending is not brought under control, much more drastic cuts could be on the way.
Miller often returned to the idea of restricting the federal government to only powers allowed by the Constitution.
He called the idea of a living, changing Constitution “bullcrap,” and said he would support an amendment for term limits as well as an amendment repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows for the direct election of senators by the public rather than by state legislatures.
We blogged about it this morning, and have since tried to find out more from Miller’s campaign. What exactly did he say and in what context? What are his views on the 17th Amendment?
Staffers in Miller’s Fairbanks and Anchorage office said those answers need to come from Miller’s spokesman, Randy DeSoto. I've tried to reach DeSota throughout the day by phone or e-mail and received no response as of 4:30 p.m.
Murkowski and McAdams pounced in the meantime, sending quotes to reporters.
Murkowski: “We have seen Joe Miller take some extraordinary positions in this campaign, but I never imagined he would support disenfranchising himself and every other Alaskan. Joe is no longer content with simply taking away federal support for Alaskan families, now he wants to take away their right to select our United States Senators.”
McAdams: “Yesterday my opponent Joe Miller actually suggested that politicians not Alaska voters should elect our U.S. Senators. This is just one more example of how Joe wants to repeal the 20th century and hurt Alaska.”
You could see this coming, given how similar remarks by candidates in other states led to attack ads from rivals.
In Colorado, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee paid for this ad blasting Republican Ken Buck:
In Idaho, repealing the 17th Amendment is part of the state’s Republican Party platform. The party says a repeal would restore "the constitution's checks and balances" and protect state rights.
“I think you would see a strong majority of Republicans supportive of granting more rights to the states, less to the federal government,” Idaho Republican Party director Jonathan Parker told the Spokesman-Review.
But the paper reports that even as two-thirds of Idaho Republicans generally agree with the tea party’s agenda, according to a recent poll, they are "dead-set against" handing selection of their U.S. Senators to state lawmakers.