As the war for the head -- who knows where lies the heart -- of the Alaska Republican Party continues, key party funds appear headed for a lockbox in Juneau.
Departing state GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich announced Thursday that the "House and Senate Majority Funds'' had been transferred to the Capital City Republicans in Juneau "at the request of the "Alaska Republican House Targeting Committee and the Republican Senate Targeting Committee."
The move was clearly intended to keep party funds out of the hands of Republican Party Chairman-elect Russ Millette, if an effort to keep the 67-year-old Millette from assuming his post fails.
A party committee was to begin meeting Thursday evening in Anchorage to continue hearing challenges to Millette's Republican credentials.
Old party hands essentially contend he is not a true Alaska Republican, but head of a sleeper cell trying to take over the state party. Millette has been and on-and-off Alaska resident and admits to being an on-and-off Republican as well, but claims that even when he wasn't a registered Republican his allegiance was with the party.
In-fighting has been ongoing among Alaska Republicans since 2010, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a moderate, staged a write-in campaign as an independent and beat Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, a tea party conservative. Miller supporters, who had helped their candidate to an improbable primary victory over Murkowski, cried foul.
There were accusations that members of the state's Republican old-guard had turned on the party to help Murkowski win. Backers of Miller and failed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, also unhappy about how the party treated their favorite, then allied behind Millette to help push him into the leadership position at the state GOP's 2012 convention.
No sooner was that done than Ruedrich, still the party chairman, announced the transfer of $100,000 in Republican Party assets to the Capital City group.
Slated to depart the chairman's post officially on Friday, Ruederich indicated in a statement Thursday that one of his last acts was to further drain state Republican funds into accounts in Juneau before Millette's possible takeover.
"The ARP State Executive Committee concurred overwhelming ...," he added in that statement. "The funds were transferred on Wednesday January 30. These Majority funds are raised during each election cycle to elect Republicans to the State House and State Senate.
"The Capital City Republicans have been in existence since Territorial days, are in excellent standing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission and thus provide an ideal depository for these funds while the leadership of the Alaska Republican Party goes through a period of uncertainty and reorganization.
"This transfer ensures that the principle ARP mission – the election of Republicans – is protected."
Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com
CORRECTION: The original headline published with this article erroneously stated $100,000 was recently transferred. We regret the error.