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Alaska Legislature

Alaska elections officials block GOP attempt to bar defectors from primary ballot

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: December 11, 2017
  • Published December 11, 2017

Alaska elections officials have rejected a request by the state Republican Party to block three incumbent GOP lawmakers from appearing on the party's primary ballot next year.

Josie Bahnke, the state Division of Elections director, wrote to GOP Chair Tuckerman Babcock that the Republicans' request missed a deadline, clashed with a law allowing any registered Republican to run in the Republican primary and was premature since none of the three lawmakers has filed for re-election.

"So, any action by the division would be premature at this time," Bahnke wrote late last week.

The party wrote Bahnke last week to ask her to exclude Republican state Reps. Paul Seaton of Homer, Louise Stutes of Kodiak and Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage from the party's primary. That was after party leaders voted to change their rules to allow them to block certain candidates from the GOP primary ballot.

Republican leaders have targeted Seaton, Stutes and LeDoux for defeat after they joined a largely Democratic coalition to take control of the state House last year.

From left, Republican Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage, Louise Stutes of Kodiak and Paul Seaton of Homer (File photos by Marc Lester / ADN)

Babcock said in a phone interview that Republicans will likely wait to see if their case is aided by the resolution of a lawsuit filed by the Alaska Democratic Party that seeks to open the Democratic primary to independent candidates.

Republicans haven't authorized a lawsuit to attempt to force state elections officials to bar Seaton, Stutes and LeDoux from the primary ballot, Babcock said.