Infighting breaks out as Alaska GOP meets

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A state Republican convention descended into infighting Friday, with the lieutenant governor announcing his intention to unseat a congressman and the governor calling for changes in GOP leadership.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell said he will challenge U.S. Rep. Don Young, the 18-term incumbent who's the subject of a federal investigation that includes his campaign finance practices.

"For too long, we have expected too little from our elected officials," Parnell said. "It is time for change."

Young, who has held office since 1973, left the room as Parnell rose to address the loudly cheering delegates. Young returned, followed Parnell to the dais and delivered a typically feisty reply.

"Sean, congratulations," Young said. "I beat your dad and I'm going to beat you."

In the 1980 general election, Young handily defeated Pat Parnell, who ran as a Democrat.

Sean Parnell's announcement followed Gov. Sarah Palin's speech in which she called for changes atop the party. She didn't specifically mention state GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich, who she exposed for ethical violations five years ago when both served on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

"I think we need to call on all of you assembled delegates to rise and, literally even, stand with me if you desire change in our party's leadership," Palin said.

Front Section, Pages 4 on 03/15/2008

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