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U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's support for repealing 17th Amendment draws criticism

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Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 4:43 am | Updated: 1:18 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS — Opponents of Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Joe Miller were on the attack Tuesday after he suggested that senators should be elected by state legislatures rather than by popular vote.

Miller made the comments Monday at a town hall meeting in Fairbanks. Following a question from an audience member about term limits, Miller criticized the culture of the Capital, saying that members of Congress are “treated like royalty.”

He said he supports an amendment imposing term limits as well as repealing the 17th Amendment, the 1913 addition to the Constitution that provides for senators to be elected by popular vote rather than by state legislatures.

Blogs from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post quickly seized on the comment.

A Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog posted the story with the headline “Tea party candidate boils over.”

Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto did not return multiple calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, defeated by Miller in the Republican primary but who has begun a write-in campaign to stay in office, was the first to criticize Miller’s comments, issuing a news release entitled “Joe Miller reaching new extremes every day.”

“We have seen Joe Miller take some extraordinary positions in this campaign, but I never imagined he would support disenfranchising himself and every other Alaskan,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Joe is no longer content with simply taking away federal support for Alaskan families, now he wants to take away their right to select our United States senators.”

The news release ends by asking if Miller would like to repeal other amendments granting women the right to vote and ending slavery.

Democratic candidate Scott McAdams also took issue with Miller’s comments, accusing him of trying to deny Alaskans their constitutional rights and trying to push the Tea Party agenda forward at the expense of Alaska.

“This is just one more example of how Joe wants to repeal the 20th century and hurt Alaska. Alaskans embrace their power to elect their candidates — Joe should know that — that’s the American — and the Alaskan way,” McAdams said in a statement.

Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.

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