FAIRBANKS — Gov. Sean Parnell will announce his plans for his political future at a reception Friday in Fairbanks during the Alaska Federation of Republican Women’s convention, according to the president of the organization.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, both Republicans, also are attending the reception, which will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge.
“All I’m hearing from the governor’s office is he is announcing his plans for 2014,” said Rhonda Boyles, president of the Republican women’s group and a former mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Boyles said the governor’s office asked her to make media calls about the announcement since it is a political event and not official state business. Parnell has no official business during his Fairbanks visit, his office confirmed.
“It’s turned into a very large attendance,” Boyles said of the convention.
Parnell’s political future has been the subject of widespread speculation, especially as Republicans look for a strong candidate to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, in 2014.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has said he is considering running against Begich, as is former GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller.
Alaska Republican Party National Committeeman Ralph Seekins, a former Fairbanks state senator, said the Senate race has the risk of becoming crowded.
“I’ve wondered what he’s going to do,” he said. “If you look at the Senate race, you have the potential for it to become very crowded, I think he’s a good governor, he does the job even though he might not be as flashy as others before him.”
Whatever Parnell’s political future holds, Seekins said the Friday event is a good place to kick it off. It’s in Fairbanks and with a very active political group.
“It’s been done before by people and it’s an important political hotbed. You can’t win without winning in Fairbanks,” he said. “If there’s an organization in the party that’s effective it’s the Republican Women.”
Parnell became governor when Sarah Palin resigned in 2009 and then won a full four-year term in 2010. He is eligible to run for a second full term in 2014.
Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544. Rod Boyce contributed to this story Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.