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Libertarians win APOC seats following November election

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published December 9, 2014

Alaska Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Carolyn Clift came in a distant third place in last month's election -- but she still won her party a consolation prize.

Clift's result means the Libertarians will get a pair of seats on the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the state board charged with regulating elections and lobbying laws.

That's because four of the five commissioners are split up between the two political parties whose gubernatorial candidates earned the highest vote totals in the most recent election. The fifth commissioner is nominated by the other four, with final approval coming from the governor.

Clift placed third, but the winning candidate, Bill Walker, ran as an independent with the endorsement of the Alaska Democratic Party, whose own gubernatorial candidate, Byron Mallott, dropped out of the race to become Walker's running mate.

That means that APOC members will come from the Alaska Republican Party, whose candidate, Sean Parnell, placed second, and from the Libertarian Party.

The shift was first reported by political blogger Amanda Coyne.

Michael Chambers, the Libertarian Party's chair, acknowledged that "to have Libertarians on the APOC board is kind of an oxymoron," given that Libertarians typically support limited government and less regulation.

But Chambers added he's excited for the change, which he said his party hopes to use to try to loosen APOC's stringent fundraising and disclosure requirements.

"If we had the effect on the APOC board that we would like to, it would be a much simpler process and much easier to understand," Chambers said.

APOC won't see any changes take effect until March at the earliest, which is when the term of one of the current Democratic APOC commissioners, Elizabeth Hickerson, expires.

At that point, Walker will get to choose from a list of four names submitted by the Libertarians -- a list Chambers says will include Clift; the party's most recent U.S. Senate candidate, Mark Fish; and two others.

Gubernatorial appointees must then be confirmed by the Legislature. The other Democratic APOC member's term expires in 2017.

Asked about its impending loss of APOC members, a spokesman for the Alaska Democratic Party, Zack Fields, responded: "Winning the governor's race was more important than having members of a certain political party on APOC."