Governor delays Senate decision

Palin starts interviewing 14 candidates next week

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday she'll interview applicants for appointment to the state Senate next week, extending the time during which Juneau will be without representation in the Senate.

Former Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, resigned March 2 to take a position with the Obama administration.

Under state law, Palin has 30 days from Elton's resignation to appoint a replacement.

Palin will consider applicants Tim Grussendorf, Gordon Jackson, Peter Naoroz, Joe Nelson, Robert W. Loescher, Andrea Doll, David Newman, Clint J. Farr, Sara Hannan, Alan D. Wilson, Margo W. Waring, Carrie Harris, David J. Moe and Beth Kerttula.

Palin said at the end of a press conference Wednesday that she planned to interview "some" of the applicants next week.

In an effort to get a quick replacement for Elton, Juneau Democrats began advertising for applicants even before Elton resigned.

The Democrats deviated from an informal tradition, however, and submitted to Palin only a single recommendation for the appointment - Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau.

Palin responded by conducting her own application process, which closed last Friday.

Palin spokesperson Sharon Leighow said the 14 applicants are now being vetted by the Division of Elections to ensure they meet the legal criteria for appointment.

To be considered for appointment, applicants must be at least 25 years old, a three-year resident of Alaska and a one-year resident of the Juneau Senate district.

Another dozen names of people who were nominated, but who did not apply, will not be considered, she said.

"We are considering only those who applied," Leighow said.

In a separate process, Juneau Democratic leaders have interviewed five applicants for appointment to Kerttula's House seat and selected three possible candidates.

Party spokesman Rich Listowski said those names will be made public only if needed if Kerttula is appointed to the Senate.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 586-4816 or

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