True conservatives in Alaska will undoubtedly be galvanized by the announcement that former KBYR conservative talk show host Eddie Burke (pictured at left) is launching another political foray. He's jumped into the Republican race for lieutenant governor, joining incumbent Craig Campbell and District 10 Rep. Jay Ramras (R-Fairbanks). The lone declared Democrat in the race is Diane Benson. Brief announcement posted on ADN's Alaska Politics blog.
Update: On April 2nd, the day after this post, Craig Campbell announced his intent to discontinue his campaign and withdraw his candidacy.
Most recently, Burke was a conservative talk-show host on KBYR until he departed under rather ambiguous circumstances. His relationship with station management was a bit tempestuous at times; in September 2008, he was suspended without pay for a week for broadcasting the personal phone numbers of activists involved with Alaska Women Reject Palin allegedly without affirmative permission. He was an outspoken and articulate defender of former Governor Sarah Palin, and vigorously jousted with her detractors, including Jay Ramras himself when Ramras called in on June 29th, 2009 and accused former Conservatives4Palin blogmistress Rebecca Mansour of anti-Semitism (Ramras is Jewish). He locked horns with the self-proclaimed ethics queen, Andree McLeod, on more than one occasion. One of his major coups as a talk show host was when he interviewed Ron Paul on October 30th, 2008. Here's the complete press release of his announcement, which provides a draft platform until his new website is completely up and running (he also has a Facebook page):
Former Anchorage radio talk show host and small business owner Eddie Burke has entered the race as a Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Though Alaska has financially benefited from its abundant natural resources, particularly the success of the oil and gas industry, Eddie understands that current state budgets are unsustainable over the long term. Therefore, he will encourage and support the Governor and State Legislature to be fiscally responsible in the governance of Alaska. Eddie knows that thoughtful actions taken today will help secure the future for Alaska’s children.
The issues important to Eddie Burke are those that are important to the livelihood of all Alaskans. As a well-known and outspoken media personality on local radio, Eddie has been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, the rights of the unborn and the concerns of Alaska’s veterans. As he campaigns for Lieutenant Governor, he will continue to be a passionate proponent of these important issues, while also stressing the importance of the responsible stewardship of the State’s financial resources.
Eddie Burke has been an active member of the Alaskan community since he arrived 38 years ago. In addition to his media career, he has been a small business owner and active on the boards of Special Olympics, Crimestoppers, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Legislative Committee and President of Alaska State Snowmobile Association. Furthermore, Eddie gained valuable legislative experience as a Chief-of-Staff in the Alaska State Legislature.
Eddie Burke resides in Anchorage, Alaska with Linda, his wife of 28 years. They are the parents of four children, and the proud grandparents of three young Alaskans. Eddie Burke is seeking the office of Lieutenant Governor in order to secure a bright future for his family and all Alaskans.
This is not the first time Eddie Burke has sought elective office. In 2004, running as an Alaska Independence Party (AIP) candidate, he finished third in the Senate District O race behind John Cowdery (R) and Lynda Zaugg (D), getting 8.42 percent of the vote. In the 2006 AIP primary race for governor, Burke inexplicably finished second behind Don Wright and ahead of the late Daniel DeNardo, despite the fact that Burke was overwhelmingly the best of the three candidates. It is at that point that I soured on the AIP as a political force, which may be the reason why Burke has chosen to run as a Republican this time. The AIP lacks competent, dynamic leadership. I would also suggest you read this assessment of Burke posted on Red County by Alaska conservative blogger Thomas Lamb; it provides a fair and accurate picture of Burke.
Prognosis: Burke's entry into the race has now made this race one of the more interesting of the 2010 election cycle. While Craig Campbell would have tried to remain above the battle and keep his hands clean had he stayed in the race, the same cannot be said of either Ramras or Burke. Both are scrappy fighters committed to their respective visions and not afraid to get their hands dirty. They're on the opposite sides of the fence in regards to Sarah Palin and AGIA. This could be a slobberknocker.