A group of Republican activists is preparing to challenge the eligibility of Hillside area State House candidate Ross Bieling to run for that seat sources inside the effort have confirmed to The Midnight Sun.
And the person to put their name on the challenge will likely be Alaska Republican Party Chairman Emeritus Randy Ruedrich.
Bieling already had the Alaska Division of Elections reject his eligibility for candidacy on May 12th, saying he didn’t live in the district for the mandated three full years before filing. Bieling said he filed too early and that he has lived in the district since April 29th, 2013. He re-filed and now appears on the Division of Elections website as a candidate.
To be eligible to run for state house, a person must both live in their chosen district one full year and live in the state of Alaska for three full years before filing.
Sources close to the current effort to disqualify Bieling say their challenge will center around several questionable timelines on the three-year in-state residency criteria.
That requirement would mean Bieling would have had to reside in Alaska starting no later than June 1, 2013.
Bieling told the ADN he began living in Alaska in November of 2012 and got an Alaska drivers license in April of 2013.
The sources looking at challenging his residency say it’s suspicious then that reports Bieling filed with the Federal Elections Commission’s (FEC) in 2014 related to his 2010 run for Congress in Florida show him continuing to use a Florida address for the campaign.
In correspondence with FEC dated October 22, 2014, related to one of those reports (shown below) Bieling indicates he was not aware of an attempt by the agency to contact him because he was “traveling in Alaska on business.”FEC Form Bieling
The language makes it appear Bieling was using travel to far away Alaska from his Florida home as a reason for his lack of responsiveness to FEC.
Another area where timelines could cause Bieling trouble is his Alaska fishing license history.
State records show in 2012 Bieling received an out-of-state fishing license. Then in 2013 he purchased an Alaska in-state resident license. In 2014 he once again opted for an out-of-state license.
This timeline is troubling on two fronts. First, If Bieling was not residing in Alaska in 2013-2014, as his 2014 out-of-state license would indicate, then how can he claim to have resided in Alaska since 2013 for the purpose of running for office?
Then there is the 2013 in-state license. Bieling’s application (shown below) is dated July 17, 2013, only eight months after Bieling told the ADN he arrived in Alaska. On the application, Bieling indicates he has lived in Alaska for 10 years and 1 Month.
Further, Florida records show Bieling voted in Florida in November of 2012. He then either wrongly voted in a state in which he did not reside or got an in-state fishing license benefit in a state in which he did not reside.
This issue isn’t relevant for establishing his ability to run for office, but if he lied on that 2013 fishing license application in saying he resided in Alaska for a year prior to that then he broke state law.
For his part, Bieling’s only comment on the coming challenge was to say in an email “There is nothing to challenge.”