State Sen. Loren Leman will run for lieutenant governor in 2002.
The Anchorage Republican announced his candidacy today, saying he had planned to run for governor but switched course after GOP U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski announced his bid for the state's top seat.
"I decided when he announced that I wouldn't run for governor," Leman said.
Leman has served 13 years in the House and Senate and is the Senate majority leader. He will oppose a colleague, Sen. Robin Taylor of Wrangell, and former House Speaker Gail Phillips of Homer in the Republican primary.
Daniel Denardo of Anchorage, of the Alaskan Independence Party, also is running for the seat.
Leman has been a vocal opponent of state-funded abortions and said family issues, including fetal alcohol syndrome, will play largely in his campaign. He also will focus on state spending.
"I'm going to continue to promote budget discipline," Leman said. "We're going to have to come to grips with deficit spending."
Leman said Alaska has an opportunity because the "new administration under President George Bush's leadership strongly supports our efforts to wisely develop and manage our state's resources."
However, he noted the recent power-shift in the U.S. Senate to Democrats "has given activists opposed to Alaska's best interests a new base of power in Congress."
"We need an experienced leadership team in Juneau to navigate through these challenging times," Leman said.
The primary is Aug. 27 and the general election is Nov. 5, 2002.
Kathy Dye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.