Tags: alaska | gop | senate | primary

Alaska GOP Gearing Up for Tense 2014 Senate Primary

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 11:44 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The Republican primary in Alaska's 2014 Senate race is shaping up to include candidates from nearly every ideological strand of the GOP.

With the party hoping to unseat first-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich next year, a three- or even four-way primary is likely, Politico reported Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, representing the establishment wing of the GOP, has already entered the race, as has conservative tea party activist Joe Miller, who beat incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a 2010 primary but lost to her in the general election after she ran as a write-in independent Republican.

Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, also a member of the party's old guard, is believed to be leaning toward running. He is currently on a six-week deployment to Afghanistan with the Marine Reserves.

Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin could end up being the fourth candidate in the race. According to Politico, she has not yet ruled out a run.

The Senate race could mirror the power struggle that has taken place in the Alaska Republican Party over the last 18 months, which saw the turnover of three different chairmen.

Supporters of former 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul elected a libertarian chairman in April 2012, but the party's executive committee later voted to remove him. Debbie Brown, also a Paul supporter, was picked to replace him but she was ousted this past April by the party's executive committee, which was reportedly upset by her failure to raise money.

"We have an epic battle facing us as Republicans," Brown told Politico. "And that's essentially to choose between definitions of conservatism: One is steadfast opposition to emerging social trends like secularism [and] multiculturalism. The other choice is ... to go more secular and more modernizing."

The current chairman, Peter Goldberg, however, is anxious to stop the infighting and focus on beating Begich, which Republicans generally agree they will have to do to retake control of the Senate.

"Most of that is behind us. Of course, there's a few people who are still upset," Goldberg told Politico in reference to the infighting.

To illustrate the importance of the Senate race, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is reportedly planning to visit Alaska in October to help the state party organize its election efforts for next year and begin building a stronger grass-roots infrastructure. Plans also call for moving a seasoned political operative from the party's national office in Washington, D.C., to fill the role of state party director.


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