As Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller plunges in the polls, Sarah Palin re-engages in the hard-fought race as she tries to revive the momentum that helped Miller, a Tea Party favorite, win an upset victory over Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the primary.
Republican heavy-hitters and television stars join Palin and husband Todd today at a Miller "Change D.C." rally in Anchorage. The rally coincides with the release of a new poll by the Hays Research Group that shows Miller trailing Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate, and Democratic challenger Scott McAdams. The poll found write-in candidates, which presumably includes Murkowski, with 34 percent of the vote; McAdams with 29 percent; and Miller with 23 percent.
In addition to the Palins, the rally will include video testimonials from such conservatives as Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Actress Janine Turner, best known for her role on the Alaska-inspired "Northern Exposure," is also slated to attend.
While Palin's support gave Miller a boost in the Republican primary, she has kept a relatively low profile in her home state race. Until now, that is. Palin re-emerged this week, taking to Twitter and Facebook to defend Miller's record and to drum up support for his campaign.
The 2008 vice presidential nominee came to Miller's defense Wednesday after the release of records in which he'd admitted he'd lied about improperly using government computers while working as a attorney with the local government.
"Who's the real Joe Miller? Media obviously ignores GOP nominee's winning record, message & plan for AK to favor their Leftwinger chosen one," Palin posted on Twitter.
Following an Alaska Senate debate, Palin took to Facebook Monday to defend Miller's military record and attack the "gall" of Murkowski.
Palin accused Murkowski of contesting "the will of the people" by running as a write-in candidate after Miller's surprise primary victory.
"I've seen some pretty ugly campaigning, and what they're throwing at Joe right now is nasty. Joe's opponents can't run on the issues because they're wrong on them -- whether it's repealing and de-funding Obamacare, fighting against cap-and-tax, protecting our borders, or pushing hard for responsible resource development. They can't win in a fair fight on the issues, so they sling mud," Palin wrote on Facebook.
For his part, Miller has kept up the fight against Murkowski in a new campaign video. In a Web ad released Wednesday, Miller parodies Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's infamous "I'm not a witch" ad. Speaking directly to the camera to the accompaniment of music similar to that in the O'Donnell ad, Miller begins by saying, "My opponent isn't a witch, but she sure has conjured up some pretty crazy votes in D.C."
As the video then morphs into a scary Halloween-like scene -- complete with a boiling cauldron and bats flying over the Capitol -- a narrator cryptically explains the votes as "a frightening $800 billion to bailout bankrupt Wall Street firms and a scary $75 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
In a nod to the villain in the Harry Potter book series, the video ends by saying: "On November 2nd, don't get scared by 'She Who Must Not Be Named,' vote Joe Miller for U.S. Senate."