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Alaska GOP needs to come together or risks falling apart

Jeff Landfield

I find it interesting that with all the talk of taking back the Alaska state Senate and getting more Republicans elected to the Legislature, the current and new leadership of the Republican Party of Alaska continues to fight with each other, both accusing the other side of trying to destroy the party.

I am a first-time candidate who was inspired in 2007 by Ron Paul to get involved in politics and to do my part to change the path of the country by getting true fiscal conservatives elected to office.

However, I do not view the movement as a vehicle to create divide among people and create factions within the party.

If people are serious about electing Republicans, they need to stop bickering among one another and accept the fact that things have changed. The current leadership needs to accept the fact that new leadership has been elected and work with them to ensure a smooth transition. The new leadership needs to understand that outgoing GOP chair Randy Ruedrich has put in a lot of work for the upcoming elections and has a great understanding of the races and makeup of the districts. Not utilizing his knowledge would be a horrible idea.

That is why it makes sense for him to stay on as party chair until after the elections. Any smart company or organization would not hand things over to new leadership immediately without some kind of transition, especially in the wake of a big merger, or in this case, what I consider to be an election cycle that could define our future.

There has been a lot of noise about the reconvening of the Republican convention this weekend. Some insist that the goal of the Ron Paul group is to use the meeting to change the rules and the slate of delegates for the national convention in August so that they will be bound to Ron Paul. The group has refuted this notion and says their only goal is to deal with unfinished party business.

I guess we will see who telling the truth soon enough. But if the coup attempt is true, then I would suggest that the best way to usher in such a change is not to do it via a hostile takeover, but rather to work on the local level to try and get good candidates they agree with elected. Even Ron Paul would agree with that. He has stated several times that the movement is not about him but rather about a philosophy.

When I first thought about running for office last summer, I put in a call to Ruedrich and asked him to meet with me. I was very excited and energetic about running and Ruedrich was encouraging and answered all of my questions. My decision to run for office was made before the convention and before the infighting began. At that point it seemed like we were all on the same side. Imagine how a new candidate would feel about running now?

As a young Republican, I really hope the party gets its act together and realizes that it is more important to get good Republicans elected than fight amongst each other. The divide and conquer technique is not new. History has shown it to be extremely effective. Democrats are watching, waiting to conquer. They’ll do so if this continues. And we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

Jeff Landfield was a delegate to the 2008 Alaska Republican Convention. He is currently challenging Senator Lesil McGuire in the Republican primary for the Alaska State Senate in newly formed District K. He holds a BA in history with a minor in economics from UAA. He has lived in Alaska since 2004.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch. Alaska Dispatch welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.