Democratic House seat winner withdraws; replacement named

Richard Mauer

One Democratic House candidate withdrew and another was named to replace him Thursday for the District that represents Muldoon and the Air Force side of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The new candidate for the District 13 open seat is 61-year-old Kay Rollison, a construction management and labor consultant who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2006. She replaced attorney Hal Gazaway, who withdrew because naming some of his clients on his financial disclosure report would violate their confidences.

Rollison will face Republican Gabrielle LeDoux, an attorney who once represented Kodiak in the House. Republican Barbara Bachmeier was removed from the primary ballot by election officials who said she hadn't met the one-year district residency requirement. Bachmeier is mounting a write-in campaign.

In what was a "beauty contest" of little significance, LeDoux received 574 votes in Tuesday's primary election to Gazaway's 360.

At a news conference Thursday at a Mexican restaurant in Muldoon, Rollison said she only learned of Gazaway's withdrawal when he submitted a formal notice to the state on Wednesday. She was a reluctant candidate, she said, and had previously spurned requests from Democratic Party officials to run for office.

"Please find somebody else," she had told them, she said. "I've got rentals, I've got a job, I've got stuff I'm doing. It's just a lot of work to ask somebody to do." Besides, she added, politics leaves her with a bad taste. "I figured, I'll focus on some other way to make the world a better place."

But she changed her mind when Gazaway withdrew.

"Sometimes when there's nobody else that'll do it and it's got to be done, I have a hard time walking away from it," she said.

Rollison said one of her motivations for running was that as a resident of the district, she didn't want to be represented by LeDoux. But she declined to go into details because she said she wouldn't be drawn into attacking her opponent. But, she added, there were issues that separated her from LeDoux, who is running as a conservative. Among them are abortion rights and gay rights.

"True conservatism, the way I grew up, was you keep your nose out of my business, you keep your hands out of my back pocket, and you got no business what I do behind closed doors -- period," she said, speaking in a rich southern accent lingering from her Georgia and South Carolina upbringing. "It's just nobody else's business what I do with my body. It's nobody else's business who I choose to love. And if somebody thinks that government ought to be in that role, they're not a conservative."

Pausing for a moment, she added: "That ought to light 'em up. Woo!"

LeDoux said she opposes all abortions except to save a mother's life, and opposed the gay-rights ballot measure in the city election last spring.

On oil taxes, Rollison said she backs the Senate bipartisan coalition, which rejected a House bill supported by the governor that would have cut oil taxes by as much as $2 billion a year. Those in favor of the tax cut say it would spur oil companies to drill for more oil, particularly in older fields, but the senators said it amounted to a giveaway to industry without any guarantees of more production.

Under the current, unrevised tax structure, "we got more drilling, we got more jobs, we got more investment," Rollison said.

LeDoux said she can't say how she would have voted on the House bill without studying the issue in hearings.

Reach Richard Mauer at or 257-4345.

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