State News

Miller Votes Against Senate Run in '08

Posted June 25, 2007

— Citing family considerations, 13th District Congressman Brad Miller said Monday he wouldn't be the Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008.

"Obviously, a big part of me wanted to run for the Senate ... but I like what I'm doing in the House right now," Miller said.

The 54-year-old attorney had set a July 1 deadline to decide whether to take on Dole, a famous name in American politics who won the seat in 2002. Earlier this month, he met with Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

But after wrestling with the decision for weeks, he decided to remain in the House, where he represents a comfortably Democratic district that stretches from Raleigh to Greensboro. Miller beat GOP challenger Vernon Robinson last year by a nearly a two-to-one margin.

"I think it's one I could have won, but it would have turned my life upside down for a year and a half," he said.

Miller said the 2008 Senate campaign would take tens of millions to win -- GOP Sen. Richard Burr and Democrat Erskine Bowles spent a combined $26 million in 2004 -- and he didn't want to put his family through a grueling campaign and extensive fundraising.

He joins a growing list of Democrats backing out of campaign against Dole. Gov. Mike Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper already have said they aren't interested in running for the Senate next year.

Dole, 70, has a lengthy background in national politics, having served in the cabinets of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. She also briefly ran for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, four years after her husband, Bob Dole, earned the nomination.

Still, Miller said he thinks she can be beat.

"She is absolutely vulnerable," he said. "I'm not North Carolina's only Democrat. We've got lots of very smart, talented, energetic people."

The longer Dole keeps Democrats at bay, the more likely candidates will surface with little chance of victory, North Carolina State University political science professor Andy Taylor said. Such candidates would take her on because their political careers might be helped instead of crushed by a loss, he said.

"They may not actually win the race, but their opportunity costs of what they're giving up are not so great that it's worth running," Taylor said.

State Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-Guilford, are mentioned among possible candidates.

"The hurdle for this particular person to cross, whoever the candidate is, is getting higher and higher. Time is running out," Taylor said.


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  • methinkthis Jun 27, 2007

    ernie61: Sen. Dole's responses are the same as I have received from every Senator in NC and elsewhere, as well as representatives. Sometimes it is a form letter, sometimes they regurgitate the news, rarely do any, Democrat or Republican address issues. However, both Senators Dole and Burr have responded with details on their views regarding immigration. That is not the norm. This is certainly not a Republican vs Democrat issue. This is a combination of staff limitations and unwillingness to speak via a letter on certain issues still being negotiated. I email them frequently and get meaningful responses probably 20-40%, sometimes even commitments. Commitment is something I have rarely seen from Miller. Miller had probably 10% chance of winning statewide. He wisely withdrew consideration. Wish other unlikely winners like Edwards would quit wasting our time also.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 26, 2007

    To ernie61:

    If you will go back and look at my posts carefully, you will see that I never endorsed Dole. All I said is that she has done what was expected of a first term Senator. Now if you want to get into the issues themselves, I will be more than glad to do so, but this story is not the proper place. Any discussion of Dole's positions would, unfotunately, be off topic.

  • Ernie3 Jun 26, 2007

    When you write Mrs. Dole, you get a form letter stating 'thank you for writing. I like to hear from my constiuents.....' You put those letters back to back, unless you know what you wrote about, there is never any indication what you wrote for. She is not informed enough to respond to the people she represents. Who needs that? We need a good Democrat that understands what we want in a Senator. Give Sen. Dole her retirement package and send her to her retirement home. Somehow, she has this 'aura' about her that she is better than anyone else. We have to get this country back on her issues, stem cell research, the Iraq War and the economy! Sen. Dole has had her first term. Do we need her for a second term? I don't think so.

  • tmedlin Jun 26, 2007

    SteveCrisp - Dole voted against cloture on amnesty bill/Burr voted for it. Tried to post on the story-but the powers that be will not allow the post that actually informs the readers of how our senators voted - what do you think about that?

  • shep8851 Jun 26, 2007

    Red: I agree totally---but the system is geared against any but the rich--the ordinary everyday people in this nation don't have a chance of getting elected.

  • shep8851 Jun 26, 2007

    WhyWhyWhy: First--I'm not supporting Easley, or anyone else. In addition to the facts regarding Easley that you mentioned--recall that he was the Attorney General who lost the tax case with retirees which cost the state in the area of $800 Million dollars in refunds. As for Dole--true--she is fighting against illegal aliens- but what has she said, or done, about things like gas prices, stem cell research, same sex marriages, etc. The current congressional approval ratings (collectively) are just as low as Juniors--and it doesnt single out individuals for more favorable treatment based on one single issue. I wonder how well this nation would function if we simply did not have a congress--just let the bureaucrats run things..

  • Steve Crisp Jun 25, 2007

    If Dole spends so much time travelling around, then how do you explain why she only missed 11 out of 227 floor votes in the 1st session of the 110th Congress? And ten of those were over a three day period in May of this year.

    Since her instillation as Senator, she has missed only 26 of 1,496 votes, about 2 percent, far better than many of her peers.

    She has sponsored 44 bills and co-sponsored 441.

    That is actually rather good for a first term Senator.

    But then again, Know All, facts actually mean nothing to you since you know everything and just make stuff up as you go along. Have you actually ever thought about a career counting grains of sand in a playbox? I'm sure someone would appreciate your precision.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 25, 2007

    Miller is a coward.

    He's enjoying the gerrymandered 13th district that he drew for himself when he was in the State Legislature.

    Miller couldn't get elected anywhere else but this gerrymandered district.

  • mvnull Jun 25, 2007

    "Dole has done just fine." Normally, what you say is true. However, because of her previous connections, she came in with much more potential for influence than normal. She was made Chair of the Republican Senatorial Election Committee (or, whatever it is called). Current independent rankings put Burr as more influential than Dole. She had the opportunity and blew it. On the other hand, I am glad that she finally came out (sorta) against the OLF...eventually.

  • Know All Jun 25, 2007

    Crisp NOT
    Where are you living? South Africa? You have got to be kidding. Dole is a over paid politician who spends more time outside of NC than any other. She needs to go back to Kanas and maybe get sucked up in a tornado along with her pen pushing husband. Trust me. "I know."