As I predicted, the Senate Democrats rejected Gov. Palin’s appointment, Tim Grussendorf, to the Senate seat vacated by Kim Elton, Democrat of Juneau. She made it easy for them since the law clearly says the appointee must have been registered to the Party of the vacating incumbent for at least a year. Grussendorf, who is from a long time Democrat family and whose father was Speaker of the House back in the ’80 was registered as a Republican until a few weeks ago. He had a “my dog ate my homework” story, but it didn’t fly.
She has ten days to submit another appointee to the Senate Democrats. She has a list of people who applied pursuant to her solicitation. The Senate Democrats also “suggested” that the Juneau Democrats send her more than one name. They had sent only the name of District 3 Representative Beth Kertulla, who Gov. Palin is not likely to appoint because of bad blood between them in the past. The Palin haters who haunt the Anchorage Daily News’ blogs assert that she will keep the ping pong going so that Juneau doesn’t have a senator as retribution for Juneau’s not supporting her in the ’06 election. This overlooks the fact that the Juneau senator represents both house districts 3 and 4. While district 3, Downtown Juneau, is Alaska’s answer to Berzerkley, district 4 is Purple and currently has a new Republican Representative, the only R pickup in the ’08 Election. Gov. Palin could use some Republican friends these days. The Gov can’t by law appoint a Republican to the seat held by the Democrats, but she could find a Democrat that might be more acceptable to District 4 and Rep. Munoz. The question then is would anyone acceptable to Rep. Munoz be acceptable to the Senate Democrats.
As I suggested when this issue first arose, there are several Alaska Native Democrats that support both the mining industry and a road out of Juneau, both are hot-button issues because the Ds are beholden to the Greenies and the Greenies hate both mines and roads. Democrats are also beholden to Alaska Natives, so I think it would be good Republican fun to make them choose between Greenies and Natives. (The term “Alaska Native refers to Alaska’s Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts. In Juneau and its environs most Natives are Tlingit Indians.)
I think the general sense of Republicans here is that we don’t much care, we haven’t been represented in the Senate in years. Someone who was pro-road and pro-mine would be good, but the Ds aren’t likely to accept that appointee. So for now, watching Senatorial Ping Pong is kinda fun.