Politics

Potential Palin challengers mull Alaska's 2010 governor race

Former Republican state Rep. Ralph Samuels is considering a challenge of Gov. Sarah Palin in next year's election, and Valdez Republican Rep. John Harris says he plans to run for governor if Palin doesn't.

Potential candidates of both parties are giving serious thought to next year's race for governor. Democrats Bob Poe and Rob Rosenfeld have already filed to run. Sen. Hollis French and former state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz, both Democrats, have said they're considering it.

No one has filed as a Republican to run for governor yet. But Samuels confirmed he's giving serious thought to a run.

"If you're interested in public policy in Alaska and concerned about the state, I think that's the job you have the most say and can best lead the debate on public policy issues," Samuels said.

Samuels is the former House majority leader. He sparred with Palin when he was in the Legislature, particularly on natural gas pipeline issues.

Samuels said he won't decide before the end of the summer and likes his job with Holland America as its vice president for external relations.

Harris, a former Republican House speaker, said he's thinking about running for governor as well, but only if Palin doesn't seek re-election.

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