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Republican state Sen. Robin Taylor said Thursday he will run for lieutenant governor.
Taylor, 58, made the announcement in a statement released three days after U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski announced his plan to seek the GOP nomination for governor.
"The planets are aligning and the opportunities for progress in Alaska have never looked better," Taylor said in a press release.
Taylor will face at least one other GOP challenger in the Aug. 27 primary. Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips was expected to file this afternoon to be the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.
Taylor, of Wrangell, has served 17 years in the Alaska Legislature including three terms in the state Senate. He had been considered a potential gubernatorial candidate.
Taylor lost in a bid to be the 1998 Republican gubernatorial candidate to John Lindauer and later lost in a write-in campaign that garnered 17.6 percent of the votes. It was the largest number of write-in votes received in Alaska elections, Taylor said.
Taylor, an attorney and former District Court judge, is renowned for a sharp tongue. He recently referred to Gov. Tony Knowles as a "jerk" when accusing the governor of violating his oath of office in not appealing the Katie John subsistence case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Knowles has characterized Taylor as a "bully."
Taylor said this week there is a significant contrast between him and Phillips. He opposed the 1999 plan to tap Alaska Permanent Fund earnings, which was rejected by 83 percent of voters. Phillips supported it.
"I'm opposed to an ever-growing big government," he said.
Phillips said there's a need to look at new revenue sources as the state heads toward a $1 billion budget deficit in 2005.
"Definitely, I think we need a long-range fiscal plan," she said. "Businesses do it. Families do it. There's no reason governments can't do it."
Empire staff writer Bill McAllister contributed to this article.