In an email on December 4, Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock informed Alaska Division of Elections Director, Josie Bahnke, about a rules change that took place at a meeting of the State Central Committee on December 2. The change affects Representatives Gabrielle LeDoux (R – Anchorage), Louise Stutes (R – Kodiak), and Paul Seaton (R – Homer) and prevents them from running in the Republican primary next year.
The rules change is based off of a Superior Court decision in October that allowed the Alaska Democratic Party to allow non-affiliated candidates to run in their primary. That decision is currently being appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court by the State of Alaska. If overturned, the rules change may not be valid, but would probably be litigated.
Here is a copy of the Superior Court Decision in October:
Here is a portion of the email that details the rules changes:
ARP Rules read as follows:
Article I, Section 4(f)(4):
If the SCC finds that an incumbent Republican had performed actions of substantial detriment to the Republican Party or to Republican values and goals, such as forming a coalition in which Democrats hold the majority when a Republican majority has been elected, the SCC, by 60% vote may:
(i) withhold Republican Party support including financial, from this incumbent
(ii) recruit a Republican Primary Challenger to oppose that Republican incumbent and
(iii) prohibit the incumbent from being a candidate in any Republican primary.
On December 2, 2017, the SCC unanimously adopted the following motion:
“Pursuant to Article I, Section 4(f)(4)(iii), the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee finds that Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton and Louise Stutes have performed actions substantially detrimental to the ARP’s values and goals, and that the SCC authorizes the Chairman to take appropriate action to prohibit incumbents Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton and Louise Stutes from being candidates in any 2018 Republican Primary.”
Therefore, pursuant to the Rules of the Alaska Republican Party and the decision of the State Central Committee, in my capacity as Chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, I hereby notify the Director of the Division of Elections of the State of Alaska that according the to ARP Rules, incumbent Representatives Gabrielle LeDoux, Louise Stutes and Paul Seaton are not eligible to be candidates in any Republican primary election in 2018.
As there has been no stay with respect to the summary judgment decision by the Superior Court, we are acting accordingly. We understand the State of Alaska has appealed that decision. However, we understand that as the matter stands today, the decision of the Superior Court is the law.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience that you have received this notification. The situation is unusual, and we are trying to be as helpful as possible. Have we provided sufficient information for the State to honor the constitutional right of the ARP to adopt and apply such a rule?
As the law was just recently changed by the court’s October 17, 2017 decision, it was impossible to comply with the September deadline for primary rule changes in current statute (AS 15.25.014). After the ruling by the Superior Court, recognizing the constitutional right of a party to address access to the 2018 Republican Primary ballot, we have acted with as much celerity as practicable.
Thank you for your consideration, and please let me know if there is any additional information required from the ARP in order for you to make a determination.
Alaska Republican Party