Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, pulled no punches in her response to a self-described "fiscal hawk" who announced Thursday he will support her Democratic opponent.
Brad Keithley, LeDoux said, has "a reputation for bullying and taking advantage of women," though she provided no details to back the allegation.
Keithley, an oil and gas and fiscal consultant, said he is spending $200,000 of his own money to influence state races this fall. He said he is launching an independent expenditure effort to support "candidates who make sustainable budgets a priority and oppose incumbents whose records show they won't."
Keithley said he will support Laurie Hummel in Anchorage House District 15 after reviewing incumbent records as well as responses to a questionnaire he sent to candidates that helped him identify who takes fiscal responsibility seriously and who doesn't.
Keithley said,"While a Democrat, I believe that Hummel nevertheless is a fiscal conservative committed to helping solve what she clearly sees as a building fiscal crisis. On the other hand, LeDoux voted for the last two record budget deficits and while giving lip service to supporting lower budgets, appears comfortable with the procedures that led to them and if left unchecked, will continue to lead to others in the future."
LeDoux shot back in her statement sent Thursday evening, saying she is proud of her legislative record and she doesn't get pushed around by bullies. She said Keithley "needs to be in the limelight to make himself look important."
"If my opponent is counting on Mr. Keithley's money to attack my record -- she is yet another woman being led down the garden path by a snake oil salesman," she said.
Keithley laughed Thursday when a reporter called and told him about LeDoux's statement.
"She needs to talk about her record," he said. "If she feels she can't defend it and resorts to personal attacks, that says a lot about her."
LeDoux's press release did not provide details about her fiscal record.
Tom Brown, campaign manager for LeDoux, said late Thursday evening LeDoux was not immediately available for comment. He said she was walking the district to meet with voters and also preparing for a community council meeting later that evening.
Asked if he could provide information related to LeDoux's allegation about Keithley's reputation, he said: "If you put your ear to the ground, you'll hear the same thing."
Keithley said he moved to Alaska seven years ago after residing primarily in Dallas and working as an oil and gas attorney. He also lived in Alaska for two years in the 1990s, he said, and often traveled here for work. He said he doesn't know the source of LeDoux's allegations.
"I have no idea what is in Rep. LeDoux's mind," he said.
Keithley posted his endorsements, along with his rationale for each, on his website, ItsOurFutureAK.com.
Here is the complete text of LeDoux's release:
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux responds to Brad Keithley announcement of legislative hit list
"Brad Keithley is a very intelligent man with a lot of money. He also has a reputation for bullying and taking advantage of women.
"I have a very simple message for Mr. Keithley: having raised two children by myself I learned to be a strong woman who doesn't get pushed around by bullies.
"I am very proud of my legislative record and I don't believe this has anything to do with fiscal responsibility. This is about a man who needs to be in the limelight to make himself look important."
"If my opponent is counting on Mr. Keithley's money to attack my record -- she is yet another woman being led down the garden path by a snake oil salesman.
"I have a reputation for working hard, listening to voters at their doors, and acting on their concerns in the state legislature. If Mr. Keithley wants to impact politics -- I suggest he try it the old fashioned way – by knocking on doors and looking people in the eye."