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Division of Election Tells Alaska GOP No Way on Proposed Rules Change

Alaska Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke has responded to a letter from Alaska Republican Party (ARP) Chairman Tuckerman Babcock. In his letter, Chairman Babcock informed Director Bahnke about a recent party rules change that prohibits Representatives Gabrielle LeDoux (R – Anchorage), Louise Stutes (R – Kodiak), and Paul Seaton (R – Homer) from running in the Republican primary. This Alaska Landmine article explains the rules change and why the ARP thought they could make the change.

The Division of Elections has other ideas. Here is the letter that Director Bahnke sent to Chairman Babcock:

2017.12.07 ARP letter

Here is the best part of the letter:

“Second, Alaska law currently allows any registered Republican to run in the Republican primary, and Alaskan Independence Party v. Alaska, 545 F.3d 1173 (9th Cir. 2008) is controlling precedent on this issue. Finally, none of the three candidates targeted by the proposed rule change has yet filed for re-election in 2018, so any action by the Division would be premature at this time.”

In the email sent by Chairman Babcock, he stated, “At this time, we are considering all options. The most likely is that we will await the result of the current case brought by the Democrats and scheduled, as I understand it, for Alaska Supreme Court review in March.”

He also included a letter which he said is a response to a letter by Representative Stutes to the media. That letter can be seen here:

Tuckerman Babcock Response to Representative Stutes

In his letter he states, “What we have with the sleazy betrayal of Stutes, LeDoux and Seaton is that they abandoned and dishonored the team they ran with. They jumped ship and put the Democrat minority in charge. That is dishonest, disingenuous and dishonorable.”

The odd thing about this rules change as that it seems to be selectively targeting LeDoux, Stutes, and Seaton. For many years there have been coalitions in the state legislature, including in the previous house majority. Bryce Edgmon, the current house speaker, Neal Foster, and Ben Nagaek, all Democrats, were all part of the previous Republican lead house majority. That seemed to be acceptable to them. In the senate, Kevin Meyer, Lesil McGuire, Tom Wagoner, Charlie Huggins, Lyda Green, and Linda Menard were all part of a coalition at one time with Democrats. Meyer and Huggins later served as senate president when the Republicans took back control of the senate. Meyer is currently a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor and Charlie Huggins is currently a Republican candidate for governor. Why is the ARP silent on their previous associations with Democrats in a coalition?

In the 2012 election cycle, the coalition in the senate was a key focus point from Republicans. Mike Dunleavey and Peter Micciche ran against Linda Menard and Tom Wagoner, both on platforms against the coalition. Both won their elections. We should let the voters decide who they elect rather than the parties deciding which party members can’t run in their primary. Or they should at least be consistent about it.


I wonder if Chairman Babcock thinks that his mother-in-law, Lyda Green, also made a “sleazy betrayal” and is “dishonest, disingenuous and dishonorable”? Green, a Republican, organized with Democrats while she was in the senate and became senate president.

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