Most recently, Miller's campaign has been tarnished by a combative relationship with the media. Last week, the candidate announced that he would no longer answer questions about his background or personal history. He was fed up with media investigations of his departure from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where he was working part-time as an attorney in 2008. Alaska Dispatch, a local online news outlet, has been investigating rumors that Miller used Borough computers to engage in political activities while on the clock. The website is currently locked in a tussle with Miller's campaign and the Borough over the release of Miller's personnel file from his time there.
Then, to make matters worse, Miller's private security guards detained the founding editor of Alaska Dispatch yesterday, handcuffing him at a public event. The editor, Tony Hopfinger, approached Miller after his appearance at an Anchorage town-hall to ask him about his time at the North Star Borough. Hopfinger was holding a small video camera. Here's the Anchorage Daily News' account of the odd incident:
After Miller walked away, Hopfinger said, he was surrounded by Miller supporters and security guards and felt threatened, so he pushed one of them away.
Fulton said the man shoved by Hopfinger was not hurt.
Hopfinger said that after he shoved the man away, the guards grabbed him, cuffed his hands behind his back with steel handcuffs and sat him in a chair in the school hallway, Hopfinger said.
One of the guards grabbed Hopfinger's video camera. Later, Hopfinger said that when he got the camera back, the segment covering the span of the arrest was missing. An Anchorage police officer offered to take the camera into custody and have it examined in the crime lab to investigate whether evidence had been destroyed, but Hopfinger declined. He said he needed the camera and the remaining video for his work.
The guard who grabbed the camera said Hopfinger had dropped it in the scuffle and denied erasing anything. The guard wouldn't give his name.
While Hopfinger was still in handcuffs, the guards attempted to prevent other reporters from talking to him and threatened them too with arrest for trespass. A Daily News reporter interviewed Hopfinger anyway. No other reporters were arrested, though a few shoving matches and chest bumps ensued as the guards attempted to cordon off Hopfinger and block photographs and videos from being taken of the bizarre school scene.
Miller's campaign has issued a statement calling Hopfinger an "irrational" and "liberal blogger" attempting to "create a publicity stunt."
The incident may leave a thuggish taste in some voters' mouths. If the only other option for conservative Alaskans was Democrat Scott McAdams, Miller might have a better chance of getting away with this kind of behavior. But with Murkowski presenting another Republican option, these voters will be choosing between a known quantity with enough flaws to have lost her primary and a question mark whose flaws are hostilely guarded by his campaign.