ANCHORAGE – Lawmaker Lesil McGuire has been part of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group, yet she is now hoping to elect more Republicans.
Meanwhile, her opponent in next month's Republican primary said she needs to be replaced because she's in what he calls a Democratic-led coalition.
McGuire and challenger Jeff Landfield will vie for the Senate District K nomination on August 28.
Republican Governor Sean Parnell and Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich have said they want to break up the coalition by ousting some of the 10 Democrats in it, who have been working with six Republicans.
McGuire said she wants more Republicans, although not necessarily an end to the coalition.
But Landfield is hoping to take her out first.
Landfield came to Anchorage from New Mexico as a 19-year-old college student in 2004.
"I went to college, put myself through school, worked a variety of different jobs, drove a cab, worked as a server, worked at the Captain Cook as a doorman, graduated school, been working for an it consulting firm for the last two years."
Now he's running his first political race, trying to knock off 12-year incumbent McGuire.
"I think the point is, you go in there for, I don't know, four to six years, get something done, and then go back to work in the private sector. And I think you should have to work and operate in the environment that you created laws under."
But his biggest problem with McGuire, a fellow Republican, is he believes she empowers Democrats in the Senate Bipartisan Working Group.
"I would not join the kind of coalition that exists right now - a Democrat-controlled coalition."
McGuire herself wants to see more Republicans in the Senate, after the failure of legislation this year to reduce oil production taxes and advance an in-state natural gas pipeline.
"What I have done is join the effort that some Republicans have put together to get some Republicans elected. I think it's important when you do have a group that comes together that you have both sides balanced."
She said, though, she might join a coalition again.
"Coalitions have been a part of governance for all of Alaska’s history, and I think they will continue to be because we have such a diverse group of people representing this state."
And she believes some good things have been accomplished.
"We have been successful in the group. The energy legislation that we put forward, the omnibus energy bill, the energy policy, the geothermal legislation, the Cook Inlet legislation that has lowered taxes and led to a renaissance."
So Republican voters in Senate District K have a choice about the degree of partisanship they want to represent them.
The winner of the primary will face Democrat Roselynn Cacy in the November general election
For the full interview with Jeff Landfield, click here.
For the full interview with Lesil McGuire, click here.