State's largest small party battles with Wright

Posted: Tuesday, October 01, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Officials with the Alaskan Independence Party have refused to publicly support gubernatorial candidate Don Wright.

Wright, a former president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, took almost 35 percent of the vote in a six-candidate race and beat Nels Anderson and John Wayne Glotfelty for the party nomination.

Party officials had previously warned that they would ''disavow'' him if he won the primary because Wright refused to sign the party platform.

Alaskan Independence Party officials contend Wright is a political gadfly who has run as a Democrat and a Republican in past years.

''If they don't sign it, we don't sign on with them,'' said Larry Wood, party vice chairman and candidate for House District 16.

Alaskan Independence Party Chairman Mark Chryson would not comment about Wright, who is making his second run for governor on the party's ticket.

Wright won 2.6 percent of the general election vote in 1978 as an AIP candidate. Alaskan Independence Party founder Joe Vogler was his running mate.

The Alaskan Independence Party was formed in 1970 and originally advocated making Alaska an independent nation.

The party has 18,118 registered members and is the third largest political party in the state behind the Republicans and Democrats.

Wright told the Juneau Empire that one source of friction is his support for a rural preference in subsistence. Wright helped negotiate the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

At 72, Wright is retired and lives in Fairbanks. He said he will continue to seek office until he wins or dies.

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