Bad Penny Redux, or, Joe Miller, Yet Again

Miller and His Beard

Miller and His Beard

Readers will remember that Joe Miller, serial losing U.S. Senate candidate, converted to Libertarianism at the last minute in the 2016 U.S. Senate campaign. He was a LINO, as WC said at the time, a Libertarian In Name Only, but he ran and lost, badly, to Lisa Murkowski. Again. Bad Penny is the Harold Stassen of Alaska Senate races.

Now the details – well, the alleged details – of Miller’s conversion to Libertarianism are starting to emerge. The original Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate was Cean Stevens. The party line, in all senses of the phrase, was that the Alaska Libertarian Party appointed Miller to run as its candidate after Stevens told its half-dozen executive board members last week she was withdrawing from the race. At least according to Terrence Shanigan, the party’s chair.

Now Cean Stevens herself has weighed in on events. In a long article in The Midnight Sun, she claims that her campaign manager, the former chair of the Alaska Libertarian Party, was a serial sexual harasser and conspired with Party Chair Shanigan and Bad Penny to get her off the ticket and Bad Penny on. It’s a fraught tale. Not just a lot of unwanted passes from a guy who is supposed to be your subordinate. She claims that subordinate, the man she trusted as her campaign advisor, worked behind her back to sabotage her campaign and put Joe Miller in her place.

There’s not a lot of reason to worry too much about what goes on in the fringe parties in Alaska politics. WC raises it not because he is suddenly defending Libertarians. Indeed, after Stevens’ article, WC finds the Libertarian Party even more repulsive than the days when Dick Randolph was its champion.

WC raises Cean Stevens’ story because it provides more evidence, if more evidence was needed, that Joe Miller is a shameless, unprincipled opportunist. True, we’ve only heard Stevens’ version of events. But Stevens includes copies of emails in her story. And newspaper reports of the substitution at the time were transparently incomplete.

Despite losing, the Alaska Libertarian Party got enough votes to clings to political existence a little longer. But in doing so, if tainted itself with Joe Miller, and has thereby likely doomed itself. If Stevens’ article is remotely accurate, it’s well-deserved.