Gov. Sean Parnell’s campaign lashed out at independent lieutenant governor candidate Craig Fleener over an opinion piece that Fleener wrote in the Anchorage Daily News. The op-ed, which questioned Parnell’s absence during a recent conference ,“is based on completely fabricated information, which can only be described as a campaign of outright lies,” campaign manager Jerry Gallagher said.
Fleener, who is running with independent candidate Bill Walker, said that Parnell’s excuse for not attending the National Congress of American Indians to give opening remarks was that he was “caught in traffic.” Fleener said the organizers were left “scrambling to fill his spot,” to give the remarks. He said that such behavior by Parnell was symptomatic of Parnell’s relationship with the Alaska Native community.
Indeed, Parnell’s relationship has been strained, mostly due to tribal rights and sovereignty issues. But criticizing his absence at the event was probably not the way to get at that issue.
Parnell was out of state during the conference for First Lady Sandy Parnell’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. He regretted the NCAI invitation about a month before the conference, he said.
Parnell was also invited to an Alaska Federation of Natives candidate’s forum during the conference. He told the AFN Board of Directors in early May that he wasn’t going to be able to make it, he said.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Walker/Fleener campaign has fabricated information,” Gallagher said. “Sadly, outright lies, misinformation and trying to trick voters have become standard operating procedure by the Walker/Fleener campaign.”
Parnell himself was more tempered in his remarks.
“Why Craig went to such great lengths to make up a tall tale is troubling,” Parnell said. “To deliberately spread falsehoods to disparage someone in this way is certainly beneath him. He is better than that, and Alaskans deserve a correction.”
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