Ketchikan’s local Republican Party chapter voted Monday evening to censure Sarah Palin. The former governor is vying to replace Congressman Don Young, who died in March.
Laura Antonsen is the chair of the local Republican Party for state House District 1, which includes Ketchikan, Wrangell, Saxman, Metlakatla, Coffman Cove and Hyder. She says the local party committee hasn’t forgotten that Palin kiboshed a bridge across the Tongass Narrows to Gravina Island. That came after telling Ketchikan’s Chamber of Commerce in 2006 that she supported the project.
“She said that this link is a commitment to help people in Ketchikan expand its access and help the community prosper,” Antonsen said by phone on Tuesday. “And then in 2008, the vice presidential Republican candidate campaigned by saying she had told the Congress, ‘thanks, but no thanks’ on the bridge.”
Palin’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Antonsen says she can’t recall the local committee ever censuring a Republican candidate.
The state Republican Party has endorsed Nick Begich III for the Aug. 16 special election to fill Young’s seat. And despite the censure, Antonsen says the party chapter is still recommending that voters rank Palin ahead of the Democratic candidate, Mary Peltola.
“The party’s position is rank red,” she said. “When it comes to the ranked choice voting, you pick the candidate that’s most closely associated with your values, put them first, and then rank the other Republicans as they as they meet your values,” she said.
Under the Alaska GOP’s rules, the 5-1 vote by Ketchikan Republicans limits how much local party leaders can campaign for Palin. Antonsen says she expects the state party’s central committee to consider whether to censure Palin late next month, which would impose similar limits statewide.