Miller seeks chance to be a force for change in House bid

Delaware Vote logoDOVER — All Mike Miller wants is a shot.

The Democrat, making his fourth run for the U.S. House, says he represents real change, change the state needs.

One of six Democrats competing in the Sept. 13 primary, Mr. Miller believes his opponents are typical politicians who “just want a seat.”

He is in favor of term limits, and the slogans on his large signs dotting the state’s major roadways focus on his message of representing something other than business as usual: “Just give me a chance to serve you.”

Facing three well-connected and well-financed candidates, the Lewes businessman is decidedly an underdog, and he has been using that status to fire volleys at his opponents and at the political establishment.

Mike Miller

Mike Miller

“The problem is we keep electing the same people who are moving from one seat to the next,” he said.

In a debate earlier this month, he tried to cast doubts as to Sean Barney’s commitment to the office he is running for.

“He wanted to be our state treasurer just two years ago, now he wants to be our congressman. If he doesn’t win this one I want to know what he’s going to go to next,” he said.

Mr. Barney did not respond to his remarks at the debate.

Mr. Miller echoed those comments and offered more in an interview last week, calling Mr. Barney, Lisa Blunt Rochester and state Sen. Bryan Townsend part of “the same failed policies.”

“If the people want the same thing then I say you should elect those other people,” he said.

He was critical of Ms. Blunt Rochester lending her campaign almost $179,000, asking “what working family do you know that can loan themselves $178,900?” He also accused Mr. Barney of trying to “scare” senior citizens and Sen. Townsend of running only because he will not have to give up his Senate seat if he loses the congressional race.

Mr. Barney and Sen. Townsend both dismissed Mr. Miller’s claims Monday, pointing to their own records as they did so. The Blunt Rochester campaign declined to comment.

“I understand that I am going to be attacked as our campaign gains momentum, but I won’t run from my experience,” Mr. Barney said in a statement. “I am proud that I am the only candidate who has actually helped pass legislation in both Washington and Dover.”

“In 2012, when I stepped up to challenge the establishment by running against a member of Senate leadership, I was told I had no business running, that it was someone else’s turn,” Sen. Townsend said in a statement. “Now one of my opponents is branding me as part of that establishment and telling me that I have no business running, and that it’s someone else’s turn.

“Delawareans don’t think people should have a predetermined ‘turn’ in politics. They care about electing a bold leader committed to getting things done. I now have a record of doing exactly that, all while maintaining the same passionate grassroots approach that got me elected in the first place.”

A self-described conservative Democrat, Mr. Miller breaks from the traditional Democratic Party platform in regard to taxes. He aims to lower the top federal income tax rate, which currently applies to people making more than $415,051, from 39.6 percent to 30 percent. The two next-highest brackets also exceed 30 percent, so those would be lowered as well.
He does not stop there: he wants to slash the capital gains tax and the corporate tax rates as well.

“We can help bring some businesses that are offshore and set up in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland and bring their companies back to the state and maybe we can get some of their tax revenue,” he said.

Lower taxes would allow small businesses to hire more workers, thus creating jobs, Mr. Miller argued. As an example, he pointed to his own accounting and landscaping companies, saying he would invest more into them and would add another employee if tax rates were brought down.

As a congressman, he wants to help balance the national debt.

“We need to be fiscally responsible in order for our country and citizens to flourish and be established,” he said. “You can’t just keep printing and spending money, you can’t just, ‘We’re going to tax the rich to pay for everything.’”

Mr. Miller supports a higher minimum wage but disagrees with some of the other Democratic candidates on the amount. Raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15, as some have proposed, would be too drastic, he said.

Eleven dollars, he said, is a “happy medium” that still would benefit many people.

In the social realm, he supports eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, banning assault rifles and ensuring veterans have proper health care, paid for by the government.

A Sussex County native, he is active in several community organizations, including the Delaware Family Policy Council, a conservative group that, according to its website, “exists to advocate for policies, rooted in a Christian foundation, that restore and preserve the integrity and significance of the family.”

While Mr. Miller has run for office before, he has never come particularly close to winning. As the Democratic nominee for Congress, he lost in landslides in 2000 and 2002 to incumbent Mike Castle. He ran again in 2008 but was defeated in the Democratic primary. In 2012, he lost in the primary for the newly created 6th Senatorial District.

Despite those past losses and strong opponents in this year’s primary, Mr. Miller expressed confidence he will be the Democratic Party’s nominee.

“I ask the people of the state of Delaware just give me a chance to serve and I’ll show you that I’ll be the best congressman that Delaware ever had,” he said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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