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Wednesday, June 20, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyDistrict 9 endorsements: Shower and Rauscher

District 9 endorsements: Shower and Rauscher

Sen. Shower, Rep. Rauscher

REPUBLICAN REMATCH: RAUSCHER vs. COLVER vs. GOODE

Alaska House District 9 Republicans voted to endorse two incumbents representing a political region that winds through the heart of some of the most conservative parts of Alaska — from Palmer-Fishhook through Delta Junction, Valdez and over Prince William Sound to Whittier.

Hawkins

Sen. Mike Shower and Rep. George Rauscher won the endorsements this week in a confidential email vote among the officers of the district.

That leaves two registered Republicans in that House race without the pre-primary endorsement of their local party, and likely that means without the endorsement of the Alaska Republican Party.

The two other Republicans who have filed for District 9 are Pam Goode of Delta Junction and Jim Colver of Palmer. (A third, Republican Vicki Wallner, is pulling her name from consideration.)

Pam Goode, Jim Colver

The House race was likelier a harder decision for District 9 officers than the Senate endorsement, because of the sequence of events that occurred: Mike Dunleavy left the Senate in January, an application process took place and in the end, although George Rauscher had applied for the appointment, Mike Shower got the call from the governor, not Rauscher.

But meanwhile, Pam Goode had filed for Rauscher’s House seat, because Rauscher had also filed to run for the Senate before Shower was named senator.

When Shower decided to run for the Senate seat, Rauscher dropped back to run for his House seat. But by then, Goode was working her campaign hard.

Yet, in the end, District 9 officers realized that only Rauscher has won against a man who many conservatives think is the definition of “Republican in name only” — Jim Colver.

Colver had lost the support of Republicans because he was a leader in what he called the Musk Ox Caucus, while pretending to serve as a Republican.

THE COLVER EFFECT

In 2016, Colver was the incumbent representative and many district Republicans were deeply unhappy with him. Rauscher beat Colver, 52-48 percent in a tough primary battle that pitted conservative Republicans against moderates and undeclared-nonpartisan voters who are allowed to vote in the Republican primary.

Rauscher went on to win against Pam Goode in the General Election, 63-37 percent. Goode ran as a member of the Constitution Party in that election, but has since registered as a Republican, as of six months ago.

The Wrangell St Elias range in District 9. National Park Service photo.

But 2016 wasn’t the first time that the three — Rauscher, Colver, and Goode — had faced each other in this district.

In 2014, Rauscher ran in the primary against Rep. Eric Fiege and Jim Colver.

Fiege lost to Colver that year, and Colver went on to beat Goode, the Constitution Party candidate, in the General Election, 58-27 percent. The Democrat, Mabel Wimmer, received 1,009 votes in the general.

SENATE SEAT GOES TO SHOWER

In the Senate seat, Randall Kowalke is the only Republican challenger to Sen. Shower.

Kowalke had been Walker’s first choice to replace Dunleavy, but the governor ran into strong opposition to the appointment, and the process went off the rails, with Walker ending up locked in a public skirmish with District 9, eventually losing the battle.

[Read: Is governor going off reservation for Dunleavy seat?]

District Chair Carol Carman said on Wednesday, “Our main goal, for the good of our state, is to avoid another Democrat-controlled House (or Senate).  In the House, we realize the only way to prevent a negative outcome is to endorse the only candidate who has already defeated Colver.
“We chose to endorse only one candidate, demonstrating that we believe it would not accomplish our goal if we split the conservative vote between two candidates in such an important race as ours,” Carman said in an email.
The District Republicans considered endorsing both Rauscher and Goode because both were felt to be capable of representing the district as conservatives. They never considered endorsing Colver because he was sanctioned both locally and at the state party level.
In the end, the grassroots base of the party was worried about splitting the vote, and allowing Colver to get back in office. They decided to only endorse the incumbent Rauscher, because he had done everything he promised to do when he ran for office.
There is one more hitch in the District 9 Republican side: James Squyres, the husband of Pam Goode, has filed as a petition candidate for the General Election, as insurance against a win by Colver in the primary.
DISTRICT 10
District 10, the other section of Senate Seat E’s region, has not made pre-primary endorsements. Doyle Holmes has recently filed for House to run against Rep. David Eastman as a petition candidate in the general. John Wood is the new chairman of the district. Wood could ask his officers if they want to do the pre-primary endorsement or leave it alone.
The District 10 area includes the northern part of the Mat-Su Borough all the way to the Denali Borough, including Trapper Creek, Talkeetna, Susitna, Willow, Houston and a small portion of Wasilla and Palmer.
Eastman, District 10, started a political action committee and has endorsed Pam Goode for neighboring District 9, a hostile move against his colleague Rep. Rauscher. Eastman said his PAC would donate to Goode’s campaign.
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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • District 10 has already decided the issue of pre-primary endorsements. In our April meeting, by unanimous assent we adopted a resolution declaring that we will not entertain the issue of pre-primary endorsements. Each Republican candidate will remain on an equal standing until the voters decide the victors after the primary election.

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