Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Republican Party Civil War Roils Illinois And Alaska


Joe Miller is back

Right wing extremists moved to take over the Republican Party apparatus in Illinois and Alaska. They failed in Illinois and, predictably, succeeded in Alaska-- just in time for the reemergence of neo-fascist politician Joe Miller. And recently, teabaggers nearly succeeded in taking over the Republican Party organization in Michigan and is angling to do just that in Ohio. We'll come back to Alaska in a minute. First Illinois.

The state party chair, Pat Brady, an ally of lightly closeted Rep. Aaron Schock (who is eager to run for governor), had told the state's Republicans that if they're going to win statewide elections they need to be more inclusive and welcoming. Earlier in the year he had backed the marriage equality bill in the state legislature. So, of course, radical right elements within the party, calling him "divisive," tried to oust him this past weekend. A long closed door session resulted in a compromise: Brady will not seek another term but can remain on as a lame duck chairman.

In Alaska, party chairman Debbie Brown didn't fare as well... although the situation seems still fluid, bitter and murky. Brown is pretty hard right and she claims it was the "Old Guard" that has been fighting her. The actual vote to oust her came from teabaggers allied with Palin and a contingent of libertarians. She claims her ouster and replacement by retired Army Colonel Peter Goldberg was illegitimate.
State Republican chairwoman Debbie Brown, a self-described "strong conservative" who shuttered party headquarters in midtown Anchorage as a part of her war with the party's old guard, says she is still the party's leader despite "shenanigans" by its executive committee, who removed her from the job on Monday.

...The leadership upheaval followed months of infighting pitting longtime party leaders against activists including supporters of former Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, former Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, and libertarian-minded supporters of Ron Paul, the former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

But national politics have little to do with the turmoil among Alaska Republicans.

"This is much more specific to Alaska than it is a reflection of the national issues," said Gerald McBeath, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Brown has found herself at a national Republican meeting in Los Angeles this week alongside her appointed successor, Goldberg, with both identifying themselves as head of the state party-- and both denied that title at the meeting, she said in a text message to Reuters on Friday signed "Debra Holle Brown, Chairman, Alaska Republican Party."

The national Republican leadership "decided the best solution, for all parties, was to deny Alaska a Chairman's seat," she wrote.

Brown's ouster followed a similar move in January against her fellow Tea Party ally Russ Millette. He had been elected to succeed longtime chairman Randy Ruedrich, who left the job voluntarily.

Ruedrich had long feuded with Palin and Miller.

Miller, who is mulling a 2014 campaign against Democratic Senator Mark Begich, defended Brown in an essay published on his website, Restoring Liberty. He said charges against her were spurious and that she had been the victim of "a kangaroo court-type proceeding orchestrated by long-time party bosses."
Miller, a product of Alaska's Tea Party and various secessionist and militia movements, announced "an exploratory" committee for the Senate seat held by Mark Begich over the weekend. Republican Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell is also running for the nomination. Miller won the GOP nomination in 2010 but then lost the general election to incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski, who had launched a successful write-in bid. She's generally viewed as a mainstream conservative. If he were elected, he would probably be the furthest right member of the Senate.

“The choice before Alaskans in 2014 will be stark. Voters must choose between the easy lies of an insider politician or the hard truth of a reformer,” he said. “As of the writing of this article, I am unaware of another potential candidate who has demonstrated a willingness to challenge the status quo, and confront the culture of corruption that reaches to the highest levels of American government.”
If he wins the nomination, which is likely, Murkowski will be in an awkward position.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home