Lt. Gov. Loren Leman made a huge mistake in coming out publicly in strong support of Mike Miller, for a number of reasons.
For one thing, one of the few duties of his office, and its top priority, is to objectively oversee the elections process in Alaska. His public support for Miller and his disparaging remarks about the chances of Lisa Murkowski to win are totally inappropriate for someone who is supposed to be ensuring a fair and unbiased election. No doubt he will counter, just as Fran Ulmer did, that there is a wall of separation between his office and the division itself. Nonetheless, he is charged by state law to oversee elections, and his remarks put the division director in a very tough spot.
For another thing, as an elected statewide official, he should not be involving himself in state campaign activities such as the press conference he held at the Captain Cook Hotel, and staged appearances on TV and talk radio. I know a little about political protocol. I am a sixth-generation Alaskan who served two terms in the Legislature, from Ketchikan, and in the executive branch in Alaska. I also served in several capacities, under two administrations, as commissioner of the Commerce and Transportation Committee as well as legislative liaison to the governor. One of the things that was stressed as "totally taboo" was to get involved in state or local politics while serving in the executive branch.
He also, as a leader of the Republican Party, should not be involved in primary races but should wait until after the primary to show support for any fellow Republican.
I don't have any problem if Miller wants to run against Lisa. I have known Mike for years. That is his right. However, I am sure Lisa will beat him. Lisa has proven herself as an outstanding state legislator and U.S. senator and has established wide, deep network of friends and allies from the White House to Congress to all of Alaska. She hit the ground running in Washington, D.C. and has never looked back. I think Leman has done more damage to his own reputation and his political future than any help he has provided to Miller.
Sen. Murkowski has earned my support through her tireless, effective and very productive efforts on our behalf in D.C., especially against Tony Knowles, who would negate the incredible political clout our current congressional delegation, which is considered one of the most effective in the whole United States by their fellow congressmen and senators. I hope I am around to see Lisa serve many years in the U.S. Senate, plus, it is great to see a small-town girl from Ketchikan, who has lived in Wrangell, Anchorage and Fairbanks, do such a great job for the whole state. Go Lisa.
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