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Joe Miller tries again in Alaska: Another tea party dust-up?

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Ben Margot/AP

(Read caption) Republican candidate for United States Senate Joe Miller speaks during a rally Nov. 1, 2010, in Anchorage, Alaska. Miller is exploring another run for the Senate in 2014.

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Alaska seems headed for another lively US Senate race.

Tea party favorite Joe Miller has filed Federal Election Commission papers to challenge incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, one of several sitting Democrats seen as vulnerable by the GOP.

“Support from the grass roots has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are moving forward within those guidelines organizing, fundraising, and coordinating with our volunteer base,” Mr. Miller said in a statement when Politico.com broke the news Tuesday.

Miller is best known for challenging incumbent Republican US Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2010. With the backing of national tea party groups and Sarah Palin, he beat Senator Murkowski in the GOP primary by 2,006 votes out of 109,750 cast.

But Murkowski, a moderate Republican, came back to wage a write-in campaign backed by native corporations, political action committees, and some unions, dashing Miller’s hopes and holding onto her seat – the first time in more than 50 years that a US Senate candidate had won a write-in campaign.

Miller did not go down without a fight, however, challenging the election results up the Alaska state court system until a federal judge finally dismissed Miller’s suit and Murkowski was certified as the winner two months later.

Apparently, the 2010 loss still smarts. Miller seems almost to be running as much against Murkowski as Begich.

“Though I was labeled an ‘extremist’ by the likes of Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich for telling the truth, both of our sitting senators now routinely engage in such ‘extremist’ rhetoric with respect to federal overreach, government spending, and entitlement reform,” Miller writes on his Restoring Liberty website.

Miller’s political manifesto is straight out of the tea party wing of the Republican Party.

“With the re-election of Barack Obama, our very way of self-government is in peril,” he says. “The Constitution is under attack, the value of human life degraded, religious liberties are threatened, the Second Amendment is increasingly in jeopardy, and the right to protection from unlawful search and seizure is giving way to a virtual surveillance State.”

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