August 27th, 2010
04:16 PM ET
8 years ago

Huckabee's help for Miller not 'flashy'

Mike Huckabee’s political organization has been working to elect Joe Miller to Senate in Alaska.

Mike Huckabee’s political organization has been working to elect Joe Miller to Senate in Alaska.

(CNN) - Sarah Palin has been rightly credited with helping propel little-known attorney Joe Miller to a possible Republican primary victory over Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Senate race, a win that would rank as perhaps the biggest upset of the 2010 cycle so far, if absentee ballot-counting goes in Miller's favor.

While the media focused largely on Palin's support for Miller, Mike Huckabee's political organization was also playing a key role in turning out conservative voters.

The Palin endorsement was guaranteed to draw more attention, given the former governor's influence among Republicans in her home state and Huckabee's relatively late support for Miller. Palin came out for Miller in early June, while Huckabee did so on August 9.

But the former Arkansas governor and Fox News host quickly put his political action committee to work for Miller - another example, his aides say, of Huckabee's underappreciated influence on races around the country.

"Gov. Huckabee not only endorsed Joe through Huck PAC, he made a radio spot that aired frequently as well as robocalls, blogging on his website and Facebook, and sending Twitter messages," said Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto. Huck PAC also did three get-out-the-vote email blasts for Miller before the vote, along with a phone bank.

Huck PAC executive director Hogan Gidley gave credit to Miller, who contributed $2,500 to Huckabee's presidential campaign in 2007, for running an impressive race. But he also said that "much of Gov. Huckabee's work on behalf of candidates flies underneath the D.C. press radar."

"While the robocalls and radio ads we cut for our candidates aren't as flashy to many in the elite media, the campaigns we've helped appreciate them and understand their value," Gidley told CNN.

Huckabee and his team made similar arguments earlier this month after Rep. Nathan Deal dispatched Palin-backed Karen Handel in Georgia's GOP gubernatorial primary with the help of a campaign appearance and some Huck PAC phone banking.

"Check the poll numbers before I went and compare them to the election," Huckabee told RealClearPolitics at the time. "You can draw your own conclusions."

Whether it was Huckabee's efforts that pushed Miller over the top in this race is subject to debate. But Palin's influence on Miller's campaign is not.

Palin's closest advisers in Alaska and in Washington were advising Miller going back to March of this year, according to campaign sources. And while Palin did not make a campaign appearance for Miller, her image was prominently featured in a series of pro-Miller television ads launched by the Tea Party Express.

Along with multiple Facebook and Twitter posts asking supporters to contribute to Miller, Palin's political action committee gave $5,000 to Miller's campaign and Todd Palin made fundraising solicitations in Tea Party Express emails. Palin also recorded a robocall questioning Murkowski's conservative convictions.

Filed under: 2010 • Alaska • Joe Miller • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Huckabee/Rubio 2012

    Great work my Miller, Huckabee and Palin in Alaska's race.

    August 27, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Maxine

    A very fair assessment Governor Huckabee is accomplishing what he intended to do in April '08 when he created Huck Pac to support conservative candidates in the 2010 elections. As we look forward to the general election in November, I am sure he will be equally successful as he has been in the primaries.

    August 27, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. peterea

    Hey Lynn, I live in Arkansas and Huckabee left this state in great shape, turned around our roads and took us to from some of the worst schools in the nation to being in the top 3 ranked schools in the nation, when he left office...He was not Gov. for 10 yrs because he was doing a bad job.. He was a great Gov, who finished out his term... Why do you hate Arkansas? He also brought jobs here which is something Obama has failed to do.

    I hope he does run, finally someone with Common sense and American Values.

    August 27, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Palin for President

    As Democrats we can only hope and pray that Palin runs and wins the republican nomination for president. Not only would we win big but the entertainment value would be priceless.

    August 27, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. PaDoc

    “...nothing more than a bookshelf”. He and Palin deserve each other. they'd be doing the Democrats a favor if they ran together in 2012.

    August 27, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Jatello

    To Lauren: Are you kidding we dems would love to run against Palin! She is our number one choice!

    August 27, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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