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.
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.)
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.
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.