Gov. Sarah Palin expressed dismay Friday that Senate Democrats rejected her appointment of Joe Nelson, her latest pick to represent Juneau in the Alaska Senate.
Palin said she was "disappointed that a very experienced, educated, young, dynamic, Native leader was not accepted by our Senate Democrats."
The Senate Democrats met in a secret meeting Thursday, and then announced Friday that Nelson "did not achieve the needed support to be seated." Who voted and how was not revealed.
Nelson is the director of admissions at the University of Alaska Southeast and sits on the board of directors of Sealaska Corp. He has little political experience, and Juneau Democratic leaders said he was not well known to them.
Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, was among the nine Democrats who considered Nelson's appointment.
"I think he's a nice young man, but he's a political unknown," he said.
Ellis said the senator appointed to represent Juneau needs support from the city, which he did not think Nelson had.
"There are people in the community who said nice things about him, but he did not have support of the people in the community," he said.
He said support would have been evidenced by backing from the same party that elected former Sen. Kim Elton, a Democrat, who resigned to take a position in the Obama administration.
Senate Democrats this year are part of a bipartisan caucus, and don't have a formal leader. Ellis was formerly the Democratic leader, but said he is now speaking only for himself.
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