The summer of 2009 was a busy one for the attorney general of Alaska. Thanks to the last-minute decision by outgoing Governor Sarah Palin to replace her previously-confirmed choice as lieutenant governor with Adjutant General Craig Campbell of the Alaska National Guard, throwing succession to the state’s second-highest office into disarray. Alaska statutes were of no help, either, with several offering differing language about how to approach just such a dilemma.
The attorney general recommended a moderate approach to resolving the succession issue. He noted that General Campbell could be appointed acting/temporary lieutenant governor, in accordance with Alaska statute 44.19.026, while holding in abeyance a decision by the state legislature to formally confirm him to the office (Daniel Sullivan, 2009). Ultimately, this is what occurred; General Campbell was appointed by outgoing Governor Palin to succeed incumbent Lt. Governor Sean Parnell when he assumed the top job. Campbell subsequently assumed office as the first acting/temporary lieutenant governor in the state’s history in July, and formally confirmed to the office in August, by a vote of 55-4 (Juneau Empire, August 11, 2009), thus concluding quite a bit of drama over the second-highest office in Alaska state government. The next post in this blog will take one last look at Alaska’s lieutenant governor, when I discuss what specific duties they carry out on a daily basis.