Juneau Democrats have selected three names from a list of nine applicants, that they will forward to Gov. Sean Parnell for consideration to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Beth Kerttula. The governor has thirty days to make a selection.
The three nominees are Jesse Kiehl, Catherine Reardon and Sam Kito III.
Jesse Kiehl currently serves on the Juneau Assembly and is an aide to Sen. Dennis Egan. Catherine Reardon is also a legislative aide to Rep. Andy Josephson and has served in the past as vice chair of the Alaska Democratic Party and as a division director in the Department of Commerce.
Sam Kito III is currently a lobbyist working with his father Sam Kito, who is the longest serving lobbyist in the state. He has worked as a civil engineer in the past.
Not to take anything away from the other candidates, but I’ve heard that Kiehl was probably the first choice of the Democrats and considered to be the most popular with the electorate, which might be exactly the reason that Parnell rejects him. Remember: Parnell’s a Republican and has to walk that fine line between what’s good for the state and what’s good for the party.
Parnell will likely not choose a lobbyist. Therefore — and this is pure speculation — I think Catherine Reardon will get the nod. At least Parnell will get some credit for appointing a woman, and he can hope that Kiehl with take on Reardon in a primary.
There is a horse-trading caveat to this. Kiehl is Egan’s aide, and if Egan wants him in the Legislature bad enough, both might be willing to deal with Parnell to vote on something important in his legislative package.
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