Don't call it a comeback; Miller's been here for years
It’s Miller time again. In Annapolis, of course, that’s a reference to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. But it also could refer to Ron Miller, an information technology consultant and conservative Republican who tried unsuccessfully to unseat the other Miller in 2006 when then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich recruited him. Now Ron is back, announcing this week that he plans to run again next year.
Winning against Mike would be no easy feat. He sailed to re-election with 70 percent of the vote three years ago. And he ranks as the longest-serving president of that chamber in history, after first being elected to the House of Delegates in 1970 and moving to the Senate in 1975.
So why does Ron think he has a shot in 2010? In a press release, he highlighted what’s sure to be a recurring theme in GOP campaign camps — that Democrats raised taxes during the 2007 special session and have mismanaged the state’s budget. But Ron also has another arrow to aim at the Senate president — that the powerful politician is talking about raising the gas tax. (Mike Miller has long said a gas tax increase may be needed to meet transportation priorities, though in a recent interview he said he would only support such a proposal when the economy improves.)
Of course, there’s also the issue of the Miller surname.
Some politicos theorize that voters may be confused by two Millers, especially if Ron Miller appears first on the ballot, allowing the Republican to siphon some votes intended for Mike. It should be noted that in 2002, Mike faced a primary challenge from Juanita Miller. But if such a voter phenomenon didn’t steer a victory Ron’s way last time, there’s no reason to think it would this time.
Nonetheless, the Ron v. Mike race for the district that includes Prince George’s and Calvert counties could become a proxy for how well the Republican message resonates among recession-weary voters in the heavily Democratic state.
P.S. Still no word on whether Ehrlich also will stage a comeback.