From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
The state Department of Law attempts to break down the rules of succession, if Palin and Parnell both win higher office:
(How many politicians around Alaska just realized they might get a chance to run for governor a year early?)
(PRESS RELEASE BEGINS)
The Department of Law has received a number of press inquiries on how the Alaska constitution and state statutes address what might happen if Governor Sarah Palin was elected Vice President, and if Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming November 2008 election. Here is a brief explanation.
If, in the November election, Lieutenant Governor Parnell is elected to Congress and Governor Palin is elected Vice President, and both remain in their current state offices until they assume those federal offices, the following would occur:
-- At noon on January 3, 2009, Lieutenant Governor Parnell would become Alaska's U.S. Representative.
-- Once Lieutenant Governor Parnell left his state office, the designated successor to the lieutenant governor - currently Attorney General Talis Colberg - would become lieutenant governor. Governor Palin would then designate another person to succeed to the office of lieutenant governor in the event of a subsequent vacancy in that office. That designation would be subject to legislative confirmation.
-- At noon on January 20, 2009, Governor Palin would become Vice President. The person who succeeded Lieutenant Governor Parnell as lieutenant governor (Attorney General Colberg) would then become acting governor, pending a special election. The special election would be held no earlier than March 21, 2009, and no later than April 20, 2009.
No special election for governor and lieutenant governor would be necessary unless both Governor Palin and Lieutenant Governor Parnell won federal office and left their state offices before the end of their current terms. So if Attorney General Colberg became the acting governor through succession, there would be a special election to fill the office of governor and the office of lieutenant governor. But if Lieutenant Governor Parnell became governor through succession and remained in that office until the end of the current term, there would be no special election to fill either office.
(PRESS RELEASE ENDS)