ANCHORAGE - State Rep. Beverly Masek has virtually vanished from the campaign less than a month before a key primary election.
Masek, a Willow Republican, has yet to make a campaign appearance in her Matanuska-Susitna Borough district. Her opponents say they've seen no sign of her on the campaign trail.
Masek said she has been in Juneau since the legislative session ended in May, with the exception of a brief trip to the Valley in June. She said she was spending time with family but didn't elaborate.
A campaign-finance report filed by Masek on July 26 stated she has raised no money this year and has spent only $100, for an advertisement in the state election booklet. She has just over $3,000 on hand from the beginning of the year, according to her report. That's the least she's ever had at this point in a campaign since she first ran for the Legislature in 1994.
Former Mat-Su Assembly member Doyle Holmes, one of three candidates challenging Masek, said he has seen Masek's staff members but not her at Valley events the past two months.
Kay Bills, a Wasilla-area Democrat running for the seat, said voters should be concerned about Masek's absence from the Valley and legislative sessions.
"We haven't been represented since she went down there," Bills told the Anchorage Daily News.
Masek did not return repeated calls from the Daily News to her office over the past two months. In the brief interview Friday, Masek said she was in Juneau but plans to come back to the Mat-Su before the primary.
Masek's failure to return to the Valley is becoming a campaign issue for her opponents.
"She needs to show up," said Holmes, a Republican challenging Masek in the Aug. 27 primary. "Nobody has seen her and she's not doing anything, and you cannot get ahold of her over the telephone."
The winner of the Holmes-Masek race will face the Democrat, Bills, and Alaskan Independence candidate Jon Pinard of Willow in the Nov. 5 general election.