GOP strife brings money to Capital City

The Capital City Republicans, the Juneau branch of the Alaska Republican party, has an extra $100,000 in its coffers today as part of the fallout from a power struggle within the statewide organization.

Longtime party chairman and political power broker Randy Ruedrich said the transfer is intended to ensure the party’s money is spent as it is supposed to be spent, to unseat Democrats in the Alaska Legislature this year.

“We want to make sure the funds are used as they are intended to be used,” Ruedrich said.

At a contentious Republican Party convention last week, during which guest speakers from the mainstream establishment were shouted down, Ron Paul backer Russ Millette was elected chairman to replace Ruedrich after this election cycle is over.

The concern among mainstream Republicans stems from an aspect of party rules under which the chair-elect immediately becomes the Alaska Republican Party’s finance director.

Ruedrich said he hasn’t met Millette, but has heard him interviewed on the radio.

What Ruedrich wants to avoid, he said, is for those funds to be used in intra-party battles. And while he’s not heard that threatened, he is concerned enough to make the transfer.

In addition to the Ron Paul supporters’ libertarian leanings, the convention also saw active involvement of Tea Party activists who supported Joe Miller’s campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Ruedrich said the main goal of the party should be focusing on electing Republicans.

“The funds for the House Majority and Senate challengers are supposed to be used specifically for races in the fall to defeat Democrats in the fall,” he said. “That means focusing on the main goal of defeating Democrats, especially in the Alaska Legislature this year.”

The party typically does not get involved in Republican primary elections, and hasn’t provided funds or endorsements, he said.  

Ruedrich said more than $100,000 was transferred to the Capital City Republicans.

“This was done well before the convention to make sure the expectations of the donors were met,” Ruedrich said.
Connie McKennzie, who represents the Mendenhall Valley district, and Ben Brown, who represents the downtown district, head the Capital City Republicans. Neither responded to emails to their political email addresses Thursday.

Ruedrich said he and party officials have a responsibility to the donors to ensure the money is used as they’d been promised.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.


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