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JUNEAU - Mead Treadwell is defending Gov. Sean Parnell's cameo in one of his ads for lieutenant governor, saying the appearance is intended in part to counter Parnell's image in an ad by Republican rival Jay Ramras.
In at least one Ramras' ad and web video, Parnell is shown during public events. In Treadwell's ad, Treadwell and Parnell are briefly shown strolling together outside.
Treadwell said he'd asked the governor whether he'd given permission to appear in Ramras' ad. He replied he hadn't - it was a public event - but said, "Mead, I'd be happy to walk with you in your ads," Treadwell said Tuesday.
A Parnell spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message.
He said he asked Parnell's highest-profile GOP primary challengers, Ralph Samuels and Bill Walker, if they would also allow for footage to be taken with them, "and they gladly appeared in footage with me that will end up in some ads."
Samuels' spokesman Willis Lyford said Treadwell arrived unexpectedly at a meeting Samuels was having with a young Republican group last week and asked if he could take footage of the two together for his website.
"He was in the middle of the meeting and he (Treadwell) just walked in," Lyford said. Samuels "didn't quite understand what was happening at the time."
Walker campaign manager Taylor Bickford said Treadwell offered to "essentially redo" the ad, to include Samuels and Walker, "and we said that's fine with us. ... That's definitely the fair route to take."
On Tuesday, there were photos of Treadwell with each Samuels and Walker on his website.
"I think the point is, I work very well with all three candidates running for governor," Treadwell said, adding that he has longstanding relationships with all three. "Whoever Alaskans choose, I believe I've got a good, trusted relationship."
Treadwell said the message he had in mind with the ad was that he works well with Parnell. He said he also didn't want voters to be "misled" that Parnell was endorsing Ramras.
Ramras, a state representative and Judiciary Committee chairman who helped usher through some of Parnell's anti-crime legislation, declined comment on the ad, saying he's focusing on his own campaign, and not Treadwell's.