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Rep. Les Gara hasn't ruled out run for governor in 2014

Posted: July 2, 2013 - 12:08am
Rep. Les Gara
Rep. Les Gara

JUNEAU — State Rep. Les Gara said Monday that he hasn’t ruled out a possible run for governor next year, but important conditions would have to be met for him to do so.

One is that he would have to discuss it with his wife. He said they haven’t seriously talked about the possibility. The other, he said, has to do with any other Democrats in the race.

Gara, D-Anchorage, said if the party fields a “really good candidate,” he’d rather work to get that person elected. He cited as possible examples of this Sens. Hollis French and Bill Wielechowski.

Wielechowski has said he is considering a run, while French has repeatedly declined to discuss the topic since the legislative session ended. Both also are from Anchorage.

French, Wielechowski and Gara have been vocal in their opposition to the oil tax cut that passed the Legislature in April and was championed by Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, who plans to seek re-election. Wielechowski, Gara and French also support an effort to let voters decide whether to repeal the tax cut. Organizers of the repeal effort face a deadline of next week to submit enough qualified signatures to get the measure on next year’s primary ballot.

Last week, Gara filed a letter of intent to run for office next year but left the office blank, speaking to his keeping his options open.

He said he hopes either French or Wielechowski runs for governor, and said four years from now is probably the better time for him to seriously consider running for governor.

“The state can do a lot better than we’re doing,” in areas like supporting public education and developing the state’s oil and gas resources without giving them away, Gara said.

Parnell was elected governor in 2010 after inheriting the office when Gov. Sarah Palin resigned in 2009. Bill Walker, who finished second in the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010, has announced plans to challenge Parnell again.

French, who eked out a narrow win for his Senate seat last year and is in line to be Senate minority leader next year, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010, losing to Ethan Berkowitz.

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