From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
Here's the top of a story I'm working for tomorrow's paper:
Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich is facing a coup attempt from disgruntled Republicans who say corruption has hobbled the party during his tenure his office and he needs to go.
Joe Miller, Interior regional chair of the state Republican Party, is calling on Ruedrich to step down.
“If he doesn’t, there will be a vote to oust him,” said Miller, a Fairbanks attorney. “We believe there’s a vast majority of delegates going to the state convention this week that want him to resign.”
Republican Gov. Sarah Palin is among those saying Ruedrich should go, according to her spokeswoman. Palin and Ruedrich were adversaries in the past and haven’t spoken since she was elected in 2006.
Ruedrich said Saturday that he has no intention of resigning.
“I have a commitment to Alaska Republicans to lead the party to victory in 2008 as I did in 2006,” Ruedrich said.
He said the ongoing political corruption scandal is not the fault of the state party. Three former state legislators, all Republicans, have been convicted so far for taking bribes and the federal investigation continues.
Ruedrich was re-elected in 2006 to another four-year term as party chairman. He wouldn’t comment on whether he thinks he still has enough support to keep the job.
He’s likely to find out at the state party convention that runs from Thursday through Saturday at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage.
Interior Republican leader Miller said it would take a two-thirds vote of the convention delegates to suspend party rules and get Ruedrich out before his term ends in 2010.
State party vice chair Cathy Giessel of Anchorage said at last count there were 401 delegates to the convention, representing districts throughout the state.
Miller wants Giessel to replace Ruedrich, also of Anchorage. But Giessel wouldn’t say where she stands on his ouster.