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Published September 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

North Dakota state senator mistaken for Alaska tea party candidate

BISMARCK – Joe Miller wants people to know he isn’t that Joe Miller.

BISMARCK – Joe Miller wants people to know he isn’t that Joe Miller.

The North Dakota Republican state senator said he’s been getting requests for yard signs and press interviews since Sarah Palin endorsed a U.S. Senate candidate with the same name.

That Joe Miller is the 43-year-old tea party candidate in Alaska who bested incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the state’s Republican primary.

Miller, 27, of Park River said his first mistaken identity call came from an Atlanta reporter wanting an interview.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I think you’ve got the wrong guy. As far as I know, I wasn’t endorsed by Sarah Palin,’ ” said Miller, a state senator since 2009 who isn’t up for election this year.

Then AARP wanted to know why he hadn’t sent back his questionnaire. Then a political action committee called wanting to send money. And then there’s the weekly requests for yard signs.

“They call coming out of Alaska. That’s what’s hilarious,” Miller said.

Despite some Alaskans not realizing the area code difference, there are some clues as to why people would be confused.

“If you catch me on the wrong day, I do kind of look like him,” said the typically clean-shaven North Dakota Miller. The Alaska Miller has a beard.

The North Dakota Miller’s website is http://votejoemiller.com. The Alaska Miller’s site is http://joemiller.us. However, the local Miller site clearly says North Dakota on the home page.

Despite the calls and e-mails, the North Dakota Miller doesn’t mind too much and called the Alaska Miller’s campaign office to find out how to redirect traffic.

“Overall, I probably think a lot like that Joe Miller in Alaska,” Miller said. “I’m probably more in line with his way of thinking than I’m not, so it’s no big deal to help him out.”


Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.

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