After being absent from the campaign trail for most of the summer, Republican Rep. Beverly Masek is trying to make up for lost time.
Masek, a two-term incumbent from Willow facing criticism for being absent from the Legislature and her district, is now working to win enough support to fend off a Republican challenger in Tuesday's primary.
Republican opponent and former Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly member Doyle Holmes and the Democrat contender have portrayed Masek as missing in action.
Masek missed 29 floor sessions in 2001 - the highest absentee rate in the House - and was gone for another 16 sessions last year.
"You've got a pattern of indifference as far as the legislative duties go," said Kay Bills, the Democrat running in the District 15 seat.
"The Democrats will probably throw a lot of money into the race. That's why it's important a Republican candidate doesn't have a record that can be attacked," Holmes said.
Masek remained in Juneau after the Legislature adjourned a three-day special session June 27 and has been absent from candidates' events during the primary race.
Records filed this week with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show she's got $4,897 in her campaign chest but had spend nothing as of Aug. 19. Masek has begun airing campaign ads and making appearances since then.
Masek is chairwoman of the House Resources Committee and was first elected to the House in 1994 after gaining recognition for competing in five Iditarod races.
The flu kept her away while the Legislature was in session and she's been taking personal time off in recent months, Masek said.
"It's nobody's business because I'm not on official state business at the time," said Masek. "I'm back in my district and I'm doing my work."
Alaskan Independence candidate Jon Pinard is also running for House District 15 in the Nov. 5 election.
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