Alaska Democratic Convention Wraps Up In Fairbanks
Michael Wenstrup elected new chairman
FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Democratic Convention wrapped up on Sunday in Fairbanks with a change of leadership.
Michael Wenstrup, the chairman of the Interior Democrats, was elected to take over the reins of the Alaska Democratic Party after former party chairwoman Patti Higgins stepped down to pursue her own bid for political office in this fall’s elections.
Higgins plans to run for House District 24 in Anchorage, challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Charisse Millette. First Vice Chair Don Gray of Fairbanks will take over the party’s chair until newly elected Wenstrup takes office in January, according to party rules.
Wenstrup, a local Fairbanks attorney, is well-regarded for his political leadership in the Interior, leading to a number of Democratic wins in recent years. Two of the Interior’s three Senate seats and three of the five House seats are filled by Democrats.
“We adjourned the Convention today excited for the upcoming elections united behind the common goal of standing up for Alaskans against the governor’s proposed massive oil wealth giveaway and his reckless policies,” Wenstrup said in a press release.
The Alaska Republicans also went through a change in leadership during its state convention last month. But instead of the apparently smooth transition for the Democrats, Republicans were taken over by an alliance of Tea Party and Ron Paul supporters focused on ousting “establishment Republicans.”
Other party officers elected Sunday include Kim Metcalfe as DNC national committeewoman, Ian Olson of Fairbanks as DNC national committeeman, Nanci Jones of Fairbanks as state party treasurer and Lynda Zaugg was elected to take over for retiring State Party Secretary Carolyn Covington, who has been the secretary since 1984.
The party also set platform resolutions and selected its 24 delegates and two alternates to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.
The delegates are unanimously supportive of President Barack Obama.
Contact Fairbanks Daily News-Miner staff writer Matt Buxton at 907-459-7544.