25 MAY 1974: Anchorage Daily News

Demos Gather

For State Convention

By Andy Williams, Daily News Staff Writer
NOME — Showing no surface signs of wounds incurred two years ago, Alaska Democrats gathered in this gold-rush relic of a town Friday and began their state convention, apparently resigned to get along with one another.

More than 200 delegates arrived to register for the convention in Nome’s armory. Delegates scrambled for a short supply of hotel rooms, and some, upset over the cost of the convention, refused to pay the registration fee.

CONVENTION officials said the gathering was likely to be sedate compared to the 1972 donnybrook at Fairbanks, where internal difficulties split the party.

The convention was more likely to be a show case for Democratic candidates, they said, referring to speeches scheduled by at least seven statewide candidates.

Speculation was prompted by the scheduled speech of Gov. William A. Egan today. Egan has not declared his intentions to run again, and although few here doubted that he would, some questioned whether he would use his speech today to announce his reelection bid.

EGAN WAS scheduled to give the main address at the banquet tonight. A press aide said the governor had not included an announcement of his intentions in the prepared speech but might discuss them out of text.

All the Democratic statewide candidates were expected to make an appearance at the convention, including newly announced gubernatorial candidate Eben Hopson.

Hopson once served as a special assistant to Egan, and said he is running because of “Governor Egan’s lack of positive leadership in the development of Alaska, particularly in the development of rural Alaska.

“I regard the Egan administration’s policy toward rural Alaska to be one of ambiance between benign neglect and outright opposition. Rural Alaska is the future of our state and constitutes an important national birth-right.”

Democratic Chairman Mellie Terwilliger of Tok was scheduled to call the convention to order this morning, followed by the keynote address by Sen. Mike Gravel.

Gravel’s two opponents in the Democratic primary election — former House Speakers Dick Greuel of Fairbanks and Gene Guess of Anchorage — were also present at the opening and had addresses scheduled Sunday.

The two primary opponents for the US House seat — State Sen. Willie Hensley of Kotzebue and former Atty. Gen. John Havelock of Anchorage — were also scheduled to address the convention Sunday. Lt. Gov. H.A. “Red” Boucher, who has said he will announce his reelection bid when Egan announces his, was set to speak today. Dark horse gubernatorial candidates Don Wright of Anchorage and Hopson of Barrow, are also attending the convention.

Statewide candidates must file by June 1 for the Aug. 27 primary. The filing date for candidates for the legislature has been extended indefinitely by an order of the State Supreme Court as the result of a lawsuit filed against the latest reapportionment plan.