Treadwell, Benson win lieutenant governor races

August 24, 2010 


From left, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell and Democrat Diane Benson greet each other as early returns show them leading their respective races Tuesday, August 24, 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska. ( AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)


Mead Treadwell won the Republicans race for Alaska lieutenant governor Tuesday and will run on the November ballot paired with Gov. Sean Parnell.

In the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, Diane Benson easily bested two opponents to win. She'll run on a ticket with the apparent Democratic nominee for governor, Ethan Berkowitz.

Also running in November will be Libertarian Jeffrey D. Brown of Anchorage, who ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary.

The Republican race was the highest profile of the three.

Treadwell's main GOP rival, state Rep. Jay Ramras of Fairbanks, finished a distant second. Other losing candidates were Eddie Burke, a former conservative radio talk-show host, and Bob Lupo of Eagle River.

Treadwell, 54, is in his first campaign for elected office. He resigned as chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission earlier this year to run for office.

"It was a great day," he said Tuesday evening. "I definitely feel like we got new support today."

Voter Beth Klein, an Anchorage Republican, was among the recent Treadwell converts.

"I had a conversation with some friends a couple weeks ago about it, and there were several people who were kind of talking him up and it sounded good," Klein said as she left after leaving the polls.

Ramras, 46, said he waved campaign signs Tuesday in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

"I was greatly at ease, sleep-deprived and enjoying lots of horn-honking and thumbs up," he said.

On Monday, the Alaska Public Offices Commission held a hearing for expedited consideration of a complaint alleging Ramras' ads for his Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks improperly promoted him and his agenda. The panel denied a request to take fast action, saying it would investigate the matter as a normal complaint, which meant a conclusion wouldn't be reached until after the primary.

Ramras said the complaint was a campaign smear job orchestrated by a Treadwell supporter.

"Alaskans have had enough of these false last-minute attacks on people's character," he said.

The complaint was filed by Anchorage resident Steve Flory, who has contributed to Treadwell.

In its decision, the commission noted the ads are no longer running and would not affect the election or cause irreparable harm that penalties could not address.

Anchorage voter Meg Halsey, 45, said she was turned off by the controversy stirred up over his business ads, chalking it up to "dirty tricks." She considers herself a friend of Ramras, though that's not the reason she voted for him, she said.

"Like him or don't, the guy's freaking sincere," she said.

In the Democratic primary, Benson, 55, ran against Anchorage residents Lynette Moreno-Hinz and J.J. "Jack" Powers.

Benson has run for statewide office before in unsuccessful campaigns to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Young.

Current Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who chose not to run, was appointed to replace then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who became governor when Palin resigned last summer.

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