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Saturday, June 11, 2011

 1:25 PM 

Dems say they won't run fake Republicans

Democrats won't be fielding phony Republican candidates in recall primary elections, state Dem Party Chairman Mike Tate says.

But they will run "placeholders" in Dem primaries for the recall elections against GOP senators to ensure the general elections for the recalls of six Republicans and three Dems are all held around the same time.

The recall elections for six GOP senators have been set for July 12 with primaries held that day, if needed. Those races that feature a primary would then push the general elections back to Aug. 9.

For the three targeted Dems, the elections are set for July 19 with primaries held that day, if needed. Those races that have primaries would then include general elections Aug. 16.

Republican leaders have recruited conservative candidates to run as Democrats in recall primaries. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said this week they were using the tactic to allow their incumbents more time to campaign and spread their message after a busy session in the Capitol this spring.

The Dems angrily denounced the GOP strategy, but a left-leaning coalition yesterday called on the state party to copy the Republicans and field fake GOPers against Republican candidates.

Tate issued a statement yesterday that didn't rule out the strategy. But today he said the Dems "cannot and will not stoop to the Republicans' level by encouraging candidates to lie about their party affiliation, or recommending that people try to deceive voters."

Still, Tate said the party "must guarantee these primary and general election dates move forward. The only way to do that in the face of these deplorable Republican tactics is by ensuring Democratic primaries with placeholders." Tate also said it would ensure a "much fairer process."

-- By Greg Bump

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