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The *other* Fight To Seat A Senator

I almost wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about the odd fight to fill an Alaska state senate seat currently taking place out in the Last Fontier. In brief: Kim Elton, a Democrat representing Juneau, took a job with the Obama Interior Department and needed a replacement for his seat. By law, the replacement has to be a Democrat, so Dems in the state senate came up with a name, as is customary, and asked Governor Sarah Palin to sign off on it. She didn't, and rather than wait for the Dems to submit a list of alternatives, she recommended her own candidate, a fellow named Tim Grussendorf. The problem was that Grussendorf was a registered Republican who had switched parties just a couple of weeks earlier, specifically in order to be eligible for the Democratic seat. He claimed that his GOP registration was all a mistake--which sounds like the lamest defense ever but, incredibly, looks as though it may have been true. (He'd run for office as a Democrat in the past and was at the time working as an aide to another Democrat in the state senate.) But his (newly) fellow Democrats decided that someone who had been a Republican less than a month earlier, whether through ideology or ineptitude, wasn't a great choice, and voted down Palin's pick.

There's been more back-and-forth since, which blogger Mudflats has catalogued: Palin tried to change the rules so that everyone--Democrats and Republicans alike--would be able to vote to confirm a replacement, but the legislature nixed that idea. The Dems submitted a list with three more acceptable candidates for Palin to choose from, but she again picked someone not on the list, one Joe Nelson, whom the Dems again rejected. So Democrats and Republicans in the senate came up with yet another option both were happy with, former Juneau mayor Dennis Egan. Problem solved? Well, no. Mudflats has the details:

Palin has now submitted ….a list of three names.  Yes, folks, it’s backwards day in Juneau!  She didn’t like the fact that it was the other side that was supposed to submit a list of names, so she just went ahead and did it herself.    And who’s on the list?  The first name is Tim Grussendorf.  “Hold on a minute,” you may be thinking.  “Hasn’t he already been rejected?”  Why, yes he has.  Soundly.  And so has the second nominee, Joe Nelson.  And the third name?    No, of course it’s not Dennis Egan.  That would make sense, and be a brilliant diplomatic move, showing….wisdom and maturity.  No, Dennis, like Kerttula fell victim to the big red REJECTED stamp. 

Enter Alan Wilson, name #3.  Nobody knows much about Alan Wilson.  The Division of Elections tells us that Alan Wilson is not a registered Democrat, although Palin’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow tells us he is too.  He converted on March 4.    And this means that the third and final candidate has not only been chosen from outside the Democrats’ list, but According to the Division of Elections at the time of his nomination, he is ineligible to hold the seat.  And just for a little added enjoyment,  public records tell us that he’s married to one Sydney Mitchell, who owns a little shop in Juneau called Shoefly.  Those of you who are Sarah Palin trivia junkies will remember that Shoefly is where Sarah Palin purchased her infamous pair of red Naughty Monkey pumps, that were sold on Ebay for $2025.

On the plus side, he's never (to my knowledge) compared gay people to lima beans.

(via Andrew Sullivan)

--Christopher Orr