Alaska: GOP Recruit Concerned About State Party Turmoil

Posted April 16, 2013 at 12:00pm

A top GOP recruit to challenge Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska is worried the turmoil roiling the state Republican Party is putting him and other potential candidates at a distinct disadvantage.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is actively exploring a bid for Senate, said the state party is way behind its Democratic counterparts when it comes to opposition research and rapid response — two of its key responsibilities with no challenger currently in the race.

“The Republican Party at this point is not yet doing what it should be doing — no matter who the Republican candidate is going to be — to be prepared for a campaign battle,” Treadwell said in a phone interview.

(Read more about how Senate Democrats are playing defense this cycle in Roll Call: Senators Raise Big Bucks Early to Combat Super PACs)

Although he’s not yet officially running, Treadwell said state Democratic operatives are already tracking him with a camera and issuing rapid-response papers when he utters opinions in the press about things like the Ryan budget.

“They’ve had trackers show up at fundraisers at my own home,” Treadwell said.

The party’s inner conflict has consumed it since last year when supporters of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul took over power. A series of power grabs culminated last week in a lockout at the party headquarters and yet another chairman being ousted. Treadwell said he thinks the party is now in the process of sorting it out.

Meanwhile, tea-party-backed Republican Joe Miller, who defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary then lost to her write-in bid in the general, announced Sunday that he is seriously considering running again and is seeking donations. As of Dec. 31, Miller still had $427,000 in cash on hand remaining from his previous campaign.

(Read more about Treadwell’s likely primary opponent in Roll Call: Joe Miller Launching Senate Exploratory Committee)

“He starts out with money that was left over from last time and a lot of unanswered questions left over from last time,” Treadwell said of Miller. “I guess my reaction is we’re still 13 months from the filing date, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see many others also explore this option.”

Treadwell is also seeking donations and has set up a contribution page on his exploratory committee website. The lieutenant governor, however, has not yet filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission.