Democrats seek to capitalize on rift within Alaska's GOP

JUNEAU — Alaska Democrats are seeking to capitalize on an apparent rift in the state GOP.

On Monday, an email was sent out from Kay Brown, the executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party. It was entitled “Why the GOP Meltdown Matters to You.”

In it, Brown refers to the “new” Alaska Republican party, led by Joe Miller and the tea party, and questions what kind of leaders Republicans will be for the state, alluding to the party infighting. Supporters of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul won leadership positions within the GOP and have been at odds with outgoing party chairman Randy Ruedrich.

She also said Alaska Democrats “work with everyone to solve problems and get things done.”

The missive says it was paid for by the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, a subdivision of the Democratic party that raises money for state Senate candidates. The Senate currently has a bipartisan majority, comprised of 10 Democrats and six Republicans. There are four Republican minority members. This year’s races will be closely watched to see whether Republicans wrest control of the chamber.

Miller, a tea party favorite in 2010 when he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate, has denied organizing or influencing what happened at the GOP convention in April, when the leadership elections were held.

Ruedrich, who under current rules is to remain chairman until early next year, said members of the GOP’s state central committee overwhelmingly support Mitt Romney for president. He said the party would strive to generate “a clear Alaskan mandate for the first Romney administration as it directs the growth of Alaskan resource development with jobs for Alaskans.”

Paul suspended active campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination last month but encouraged supporters to continue their work in state conventions.

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