Phillips announces plans to file for statewide office

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2001

HOMER (AP) -- Former state House Speaker Gail Phillips announced plans to run for statewide office on Monday, but did not specify which office she plans to seek in 2002.

Phillips, a Republican from Homer, said she will wait for U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski to decide whether he will run for governor in the Nov. 5, 2002 election.

Murkowski has been viewed by many in the GOP as the Republican front-runner in the race. Phillips said she is considering a run for governor or lieutenant governor.

''I am going to proceed as if I am running for governor,'' Phillips told the Associated Press on Monday. ''(But) I would not run against him.''

By filing a letter of intent to run for a statewide office, Phillips is allowed to raise campaign funds for her bid. She hopes to raise at least $1 million for her campaign, she said during a telephone interview Monday.

''This is a huge state and it is very costly to campaign all around the state when you are running for statewide office,'' Phillips said.

On Monday her campaign staff was expected to begin planning a series of fundraisers around the state between October and November, she said.

Murkowski had put off making an announcement while Congress debates a national energy bill with provisions to begin drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Murkowski has no immediate plans to announce a run for governor, said spokesman Chuck Kleeschulte. Murkowski praised Phillips as an ''extremely qualified lawmaker and personal friend,'' Kleeschulte said on Monday.

Phillips announced her plan during a 10 a.m. press conference at the Land's End Resort in Homer.

Phillips served in the House from 1991 to 2000, serving as majority leader in 1993-94. She was the first woman to serve two consecutive terms as House speaker, from 1995-1998.

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