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Treadwell: 'No interest' in primary against Parnell

Lt. Gov. announced last week he is exploring U.S. Senate bid

Posted: December 4, 2012 - 5:33pm  |  Updated: December 5, 2012 - 1:06am
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said Monday he has “no interest” in facing his boss, Gov. Sean Parnell, in a Republican primary for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in 2014.

Treadwell announced last Friday in Fairbanks that he is exploring a run for Begich’s U.S. Senate seat, widely expected to be among the most competitive in the country in the 2014 election cycle.

“I know that the Republicans need a good standard-bearer in a challenge,” Treadwell said Monday. He added, “I think I could do a good job representing Alaska.”

Treadwell has long been floated as a potential challenger to Begich. But Parnell, who has not yet announced his plans for 2014, is also seen as a prospective candidate.

“I have no interest in running against the governor,” said Treadwell.

If Parnell decides to run for Senate, Treadwell said, “I might consider running for governor.”

Of Parnell, Treadwell added, “I think he’s got to speak for himself, but one of the reasons why I’m definitely not declaring candidacy at this point is because I want to make sure that his options are open as well.”

Asked whether he would become a candidate for Senate if Parnell declines to run, Treadwell said he is not ready to make that decision yet.

Parnell was unavailable for comment on this story, but spokeswoman Sharon Leighow reiterated the governor’s previous statements about 2014.

“He intends to announce his future plans after the next legislative session,” said Leighow.

But Treadwell said he did not want to wait to begin preparing a Republican challenge to Begich’s reelection.

“Challenging a sitting senator, even in a state like Alaska where a Republican is probably more likely to win, is a huge undertaking, and it’s going to require a lot of groundwork,” said Treadwell, adding, “I think it’s time to get started in preparing so we have a good Republican candidate to go after Sen. Begich.”

Begich said Tuesday by phone from Washington, D.C., that he has spent “minimal time” thinking about who will run against him in 2014.

“My view is, I’m here in Washington right now working on a lot of issues,” Begich said, naming oil and gas development and support services for military veterans among them. Of the Republicans, he added, “They’ll have a primary, and whoever comes out of the primary, we’ll be ready to run against whoever that is.”

Begich said he plans to campaign for reelection on his record in the Senate.

“When the campaign season hits, we’ll be campaigning hard,” said Begich. “I’ll travel around the state, I’ll talk to voters, I’ll talk to folks about what I’ve been able to accomplish.”

Begich, then-mayor of Anchorage, was elected in 2008 in a close and controversial race over then-Sen. Ted Stevens. Stevens, the longtime Republican incumbent at the time, was convicted on federal corruption charges just eight days before the election — a conviction that was voided the following spring.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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