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A clear case of mistaken ideology

SANTA FE – There may not be two Carol Millers who are further apart.

Carol Miller of Ojo Sarco, N.M.

Carol Miller of Ojo Sarco, N.M., is a liberal activist for universal health care who has also taken a stand against military training flights over northern New Mexico. She has run twice for Congress as a Green Party candidate and a third time as an independent, but that was years ago.

Most of a continent away, another Carol Miller is running for federal office this year in West Virginia, as a conservative and supporter of President Donald Trump.

Somehow, it was the New Mexico Miller who recently received a generous $5,000 donation from Vice President Mike Pence’s PAC.

“The whole thing was pretty weird, actually,” the New Mexico Miller told the Journal on Wednesday.

Carol Miller of Huntington, W.Va.

New Mexico Miller sent the check on to West Virginia Miller, but with a strongly worded letter on why New Mexico Miller is supporting the West Virginian’s Democratic opponent, Richard Ojeda.

“At the same time that I’m forwarding this check to you, I’m urging all of the Carol Millers in the U.S. to support your opponent, Richard Ojeda, in the November election,” Miller wrote.

New Mexico Miller said she received the $5,000 check July 3 from Pence’s PAC, Great America Committee, after it was sent to her old campaign account, Friends of Carol Miller.

An accompanying letter had the West Virginia address of the other Miller, so New Mexico Miller subsequently sent the check to the intended politician.

New Mexico Miller also included a letter, which she provided to the Journal, that spelled out her disagreements with her West Virginia counterpart and added that she gave a contribution to Ojeda’s campaign.

“At least Ojeda has the courage to take on powerful pharmaceutical lobbyists behind the West Virginia opioid tragedy and stand with the teachers during their historic strike for West Virginia children earlier this year. …

“I am encouraging others to contribute to Ojeda and West Virginia to cast their votes for Ojeda, the candidate who will stand with them, not trample them underfoot as you will.”

Ojeda chimed in on the Pence PAC’s mistake on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

“The republican leadership thinksA (sic) so much of my opponent that they send her campaign contribution to the wrong Carol Miller 1,400 miles away,” Ojeda wrote.

“No one really knows the real Carol Miller!”

The West Virginia Miller couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. Miller of Ojo Sarco said she never got a response to her letter or for sending the check along.

New Mexico Miller, a longtime public health professional, ran for northern New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District seat in 1997 on the Green Party ticket in a special election to succeed Bill Richardson, who’d taken an appointment in the Clinton administration and eventually became New Mexico governor.

Miller received nearly 17 percent of the vote, a strong showing that reflected progressive displeasure with Democratic nominee Eric Serna despite the district’s overwhelmingly Democratic electorate. Serna came in second to Republican Bill Redmond. A year later, in the regular election, Miller ran again as a Green Party candidate. Democrat Tom Udall defeated her and Redmond to win the seat. She ran in 2008 as an independent.

Meanwhile, West Virginia Carol Miller is a sitting state legislator and majority whip in the House of Delegates who is the GOP nominee for an open congressional seat. She says on her campaign website that she is pro-Second Amendment, pro-coal and anti-abortion.

She has vowed to work with President Trump if elected to “build the wall” and end illegal immigration. She has also said she prayed before every vote as a member of the West Virginia Legislature and vowed to do the same if elected to Congress.

New Mexico Miller said she intended to run as an independent for the Rio Arriba County Commission this year, but she was rejected for failing to submit any nominating petition signatures. She said she is considering going to court to reverse that decision.

Journal reporter Dan Boyd contributed to this story.