Bickering Continues Before Reconvened Alaska GOP Convention
Alaska GOP Chair-elect Russ Millette at left; courtesy Facebook.
FAIRBANKS — Discord continues in the Alaska Republican Party after outgoing Chairman Randy Ruedrich told Interior Republicans on Friday to “go fishing” on June 9, when the party is scheduled to reconvene its convention, and deny Ron Paul supporters and Tea Partiers the quorum needed to rewrite party rules.
Ruedrich, who is scheduled to step down after this fall’s elections, said Paul supporters are attempting to award the state’s 24 national party convention delegates to Ron Paul. Paul supporters denied that claim this week.
The Republican Party is scheduled to reconvene its state convention on June 9 to complete work from its rowdy April convention, where Paul supporters and members of the Tea Party elected new party leaders.
“We approved the complete delegate list — that’s on the record — we have no intention to take over the delegate slate,” said Evan Cutler, the organizer for Alaskans for Ron Paul 2012, which is not affiliated with the Texas congressman’s national presidential campaign.
Cutler went on to accuse Ruedrich of bringing up the delegate issue to distract from plans to rewrite party rules to oust Ruedrich immediately and hand over the reins to Chairman-elect Russ Millette. Under current rules, Millette would take over in February of next year. Millette is also a Paul supporter.
“He’s totally not cooperative with the leadership change,” Cutler said of Ruedrich. “They’re trying to scapegoat us for the changes that he’s afraid to see.”
Millette also issued a press release calling on Republicans to return to the convention.
Ruedrich, when asked Tuesday, said he had based his comments off of what has happened in other states, where similar takeovers have awarded extra delegates to Paul.
“I’m basing that on their behavior on other states. …In other states that’s been their stated policy, and their state policy has been uniform,” he said. “I don’t believe anybody should go and waste any more of their personal Saturday.”
Ruedrich said the delayed transfer of the chairmanship helps ensure a smooth transition during a high-stakes election year.
Cutler said Ruedrich’s comments added to a long list of slights aimed at Paul supporters. He said he believes there will be quorum on June 9 in Anchorage to make the changes.
Even with the deep divisions forming between the two groups, Cutler said he believes the party will be able to recover, a task that will be easier without Ruedrich at the wheel.
“It’s so frustrating,” Cutler said. “We just want an honest party with good leadership. The new people who were elected will have to learn to be good leaders, but we elected them because they’re good people. We elected them because they’ll be fair.”