Tammy Randolph owns a State Farm insurance agency in North Pole, Alaska and recently made the news as one of Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy’s appointments to the University of Alaska Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents is the governing body of Alaska’s public university system.
However, the Alaska Democratic Party criticized Randolph for social media posts that peddle conspiracy theories about the so-called “Deep State”––among other things.
Randolph’s posts include:
- a photo collage of former First Lady Michelle Obama with a caption suggesting she’s “a he”
- support for uninstalling the so-called “Deep State” from higher government
- support for QAnon, which The New York Times reported “claims to be a government insider exposing an entrenched, international bureaucracy that is secretly plotting all sorts of nefarious schemes against the Trump administration and its supporters”
- a meme of the late attorney Johnnie Cochran in support of Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation captioned “If there was no sperm, you must confirm”
- a post suggesting Democrats go to the voting booth on the wrong day
…and that’s just what we know of.
(Randolph has since made her Twitter private and has withdrawn from consideration, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)
The Alaska Democrats wrote on their official Facebook page:
“These are Facebook posts from Tammy Randolph who was appointed to the University of Alaska Board of Regents who is apparently a Q-Anon/Pizzagate conspiracy theorist, and a hyper-partisan who thinks Michelle Obama is a man, and whose threshold for sexual assault can be described by a tasteless, disgusting meme.”
“Just what our university DOESN’T need. This is outrageous. Does this represent Mike Dunleavy’s values?”
Randolph expressed surprise that anyone would be interested in “personal comments I made without thinking” on Twitter.
“I do take full responsibility for them however,” she wrote in an emailed statement to The Anchorage Daily News.
“While the comments were made over a period of time prior to this appointment, I believe that I owe a sincere apology for the tone of my messages and the harsh language that was used. The language expressed was out of boldness and arrogance, as it never occurred to me that they would be seen in the context of a role such as a public figure.”
The 11 members of the UA Board of Regents serve an eight-year term, “except for the student regent who’s appointed to the board for two years,” according to The Anchorage Daily News.
Regents are unpaid, but can have their travel expenses reimbursed. Those on the board are responsible for appointing the UA president as well as approving the annual budget.
The scandal sparked a considerable backlash against Randolph, and many expressed their opposition to her appointment.
The newest appointee to the UAA Board of Regents, Tammy Randolph, thinks Nathan Phillips was a Soros paid actor. So glad and feeling blessed she will have a large say in our state education. #akleg #akgov pic.twitter.com/sgLTXLdzrW— Anchorage DSA ???? (@AnchorageDSA) January 28, 2019
I think having Tammy Randolph in Board of Regents seat at @UA_System sends a terrible message to students and educators. Racism is not OK, especially in higher education #highered #highereducation https://t.co/ZRs1roQA6Z— Poche de Maman (@PochedeMaman) January 30, 2019
.@GovDunleavy You need to rethink your choice of Tammy Randolph for the University of Alaska's Board of Regents. Clearly, she is not fit to serve the state university in as diverse a state as your own. And #QAnon? Really? Did you do your due diligence before appointing her or no?— Sparkly (@SaraParker411) January 31, 2019
@StateFarm I just read an article about Tammy Randolph, and find her morals, ethics and behaviors abhorrent. Is this indicative of State Farm culture? And if not, why is she in your employ?— Susan Coker Bell (@SusanCokerBell) January 30, 2019
The pushback against Randolph was successful: She has withdrawn from UA Board of Regents consideration, according to a letter she wrote to Governor Dunleavy.
“I have the utmost respect for the institution and its mission, and I no longer wish to distract from its pressing business.”
In a phone interview before her withdrawal, Randolph insisted she doesn’t personally endorse her own tweets.
“It’s just retweeting, but it doesn’t mean that I endorse it,” she said.
“I don’t have, you know, friends on Twitter … It’s not related to anything that I do. It’s just simple entertainment for me. I thought it was kind of off the grid. It’s just, you know, something to do.”
Randolph used the “entertainment” excuse again when she was asked if she believes in QAnon.
“No. Heavens no. It’s strictly entertainment. That’s all it is,” she said, adding:
“I don’t know whether it exists or not. I don’t believe it or not believe it. I just simply don’t know enough about it. But I find it interesting. I find it’s like a puzzle. So that’s all.”
She employed the same defense when asked about her Michelle Obama post.
“Total entertainment. I just didn’t like her fashion sense, so I was equating it to the fact, well, most guys don’t have fashion sense….”
“That was all it was. It wasn’t meant for anybody. It wasn’t meant to offend. It wasn’t racist. It wasn’t homophobic. I’m not any of those things. It wasn’t anything other than I found it amusing, that’s all.”
Yeah… no one bought that. Better luck next time.