"For some reason that I don't quite understand, the political process is allowing more and more police and private security guards to consider the media to be the enemy," Dalglish said. "They need to be conscious of the difference between security and thuggery."
A statement from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican who's now staging a write-in campaign against Miller, says she finds it "alarming that Joe feels he needs to hire security forces to protect him from Alaskan voters and members of the press."
Veteran GOP strategist Dick Wadhams, the Colorado state Republican chairman who has managed the campaigns of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), says it is "unusual" for a private citizen running for office to hire bodyguards before being elected.
"Yet, in this day and age, if a candidate has been receiving threats of some kind, I don't think it would be an inappropriate thing to do," Wadhams said.
Wadhams said it would be "a stretch" to assume Miller's campaign hired the guards simply to shield him from reporters.
A Miller spokesman says the security force at Central Middle School was required under the campaign's contract with the school district, and that the candidate -- a former Army officer, federal magistrate and state judge -- is not regularly accompanied by the bodyguards.
The Anchorage School District confirms that the campaign, which rented the space for the town hall for $400, was required to have "a security plan."
Under district protocol, users who rent school property "must have sufficient ushers, attendants or security monitors... to observe and keep an eye on" patrons during the event and ensure that school policies are being followed.
"But it's not my understanding that we must have a hired security team," said Heidi Embley, a spokeswoman for the schools.