ANCHORAGE - Republican Wev Shea says he's disappointed neither Sen. Lisa Murkowski nor her GOP challenger, Mike Miller, has taken a stand against state party boss Randy Ruedrich, and he supports the call for independent counsel to take over the ethics case against Ruedrich.
Shea, a former U.S. Attorney who plans to run for Murkowski's Senate seat, told The Anchorage Daily News he met privately in March with Justin Stiefel, Murkowski's campaign manager and former chief of staff.
That meeting made it clear to him that Ruedrich is too valuable to Murkowski to be fired despite the charges he's facing, Shea said.
And, Shea said, Stiefel told him Murkowski's father, Frank Murkowski, couldn't have been elected governor in 2002 without the tactics, strategy and financial might that Ruedrich was able to bring to his campaign.
Shea said he now supports the call of some Democrats in the Alaska Legislature that the state ethics case against Ruedrich be turned over to an independent counsel.
In an interview with the Anchorage newspaper last week, Stiefel acknowledged meeting with Shea but denied making the remarks Shea attributed to him.
Lisa Murkowski said last week that many members of her party hold Ruedrich in high regard because of his skill at holding the party's factions together and raising large sums of money.
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