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Saturday, November 17, 2018
HomeTop NewsHouse Democrats have a minority caucus of 17

House Democrats have a minority caucus of 17

HERE’S HOW THEY COULD TAKE OVER

The Nov. 6 election left Alaska House Democrats with perhaps 17 members — or perhaps as few as 15 members. It’s a difficult minority that includes four new legislators.

Then there’s Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who ran as a Republican in JBER-Muldoon, all the while planning to take a leadership role in the Democrat-led organization in 2016.

Hawkins

That gets the Democrat minority to 18. They need three more.

But LeDoux is a risky play for them and won’t be their first pick: Rumors swirl about an impending indictment concerning the fingerprints LeDoux has all over the absentee ballot voter fraud scandal in her District 15 primary.

[Read: Getting to the bottom of the shady voting in District 15]

Would Democrats want someone in their caucus who could be indicted? She’s not their first choice and many of them expressed unhappiness with her when she was their Rules chairman from 2016-2018.

This is obviously an awkward position for Republicans, as well. LeDoux wants back in the Republican caucus, but she’s become a liability to both caucuses.

The Democrats know they don’t have a way to reach a 21-member majority, even with LeDoux. Here’s their current known lineup.

District 4 – Grier Hopkins, Fairbanks

District 5 – Adam Wool, Fairbanks

District 16 – Ivy Spohnholz, Anchorage

District 17 – Andy Josephson, Anchorage

District 18 – Harriet Drummond, Anchorage

District 19 – Geran Tarr, Anchorage

District 20 – Zack Fields, Anchorage

District 21 – Matt Claman, Anchorage

District 23 – Chris Tuck, Anchorage

District 33 – Sara Hannan, Juneau

District 34 – Andi Story, Juneau

District 35 – Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Sitka

District 36 – Dan Ortiz, Ketchikan

District 37 – Bryce Edgmon, Dillingham

District 38 – Tiffany Zulkosky, Bethel

Then there are two rural Democrats who could join the Republican majority, if they were welcome:

District 39 – Neal Foster, Nome

District 40 – John Lincoln, Kotzebue

Traditionally, Republican majorities have embraced one or two rural Democrats, and these two come from an area of the state where Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy has deep ties.

Dunleavy taught in Koyuk and Kotzebue, and his wife Rose is from Noorvik, 42 miles from Kotzebue and 200 miles from Nome.

Both of these rural legislators would enjoy a stronger position for their regions by joining the Republican-led majority, if they are invited.

Right now, with 21 in the recently announced Republican majority organization, the group only needs Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak to sign on to have a truly solid 22-member majority, but they could include those two rural seats and that would create a powerful majority of 24.

The Democrats, who held their organizational meeting in Anchorage on Wednesday, have reached out to several Republicans who they see as weak, hoping to entice them over to their 15-17-member majority.

So far, it’s looking unlikely.

The punishment for Republicans who tried that bait-and-switch gambit has been dire: Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer, who ended up leaving the Republican Party under pressure, lost in a landslide victory to Republican Sarah Vance; Rep. LeDoux lost her primary to a challenger who didn’t even run a campaign, until absentee ballots were counted (many of them fraudulent); Jason Grenn, a no-party legislator from Anchorage who aligned with Democrats lost decisively to Republican Sara Rasmussen after serving only one term; and in 2016 musk ox caucus member Jim Colver was ousted in the primary by Republican Rep. George Rauscher.

Only LeDoux of Muldoon and Stutes of Kodiak have hung onto their seats in spite of forming a power alliance with Democrats. And LeDoux is considered politically radioactive as a voter fraud investigation continues.

There’s very little the Democrats can offer weak Republicans this year, and, as history now shows, those who won office as Republicans would find that this is their last term if they formed a majority with the Democrats.

That would include Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai, to whom we’ve learned the Democrats have offered the speakership, if he’d only flip. Clarification: Knopp says he has not received a call.

They’ll keep trying.

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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 comments

  • Anchorage Voters need to stop whining about crime. They voted to retain almost everyone who passed SB91. Re-electing them only endorsed their love for criminals, don’t expect any changes.

  • I do wish Suzanne would do a little fact checking before she prints some of this stuff. I hate to hear of these offers in social media instead of a phone call.
    It is clearly the difference between investigative journalism and blogging.
    It kind of makes you wonder if she really heard it or just makes this stuff.up.
    She may have closer ties to the Democratic Party than I do, and very well may be in the know, but right now I’m still waiting for the phone call.

    • Yea, tons of great investigative journalism in this state…….what a laugh. SD does a far better job than anyone in the MSM.

      • Isn’t that the truth! Suzanne is the ONLY investigative journalist who dug up the facts and broke the TRUE story about disgraced, former Lt. Governor Byron Malott and his dallying with underaged girls. THAT article cost any remaining credibility in the Walker Administration. Empire, Newsminer, ADN……..
        ………….SILENCE. Even to this day! So who wears the big strap amongst Alaska’s journalists?
        SUZANNE, of course.

  • And for those who that do not know Sarah Vance yet, she will bring great things to District 31, and our great state. Sarah, her husband Jeff, and 4 kids are salt-of-the-earth Alaskans, and she will hold fast to liberty, our US Constitution, and a return to the rule of law. Thank you Sarah for all the work you did to bring new leadership to your District. And no, I am not tired of all this winning yet!

    • Thank you Sarah Vance. Glad to see Seaton get a “beating”. Thank you for running, and thank you to those voters who supported you. Best wishes to you on your upcoming term.

  • I am pretty sure the Democrats will take anyone. And excuse the bad things. Like Westlake, Byron etc. So they will take Gabby.

  • This article echoes the fact the majority of Juneau voters are politically naive in the extreme. They had the opportunity to hire three very competent legislators who would have caucused with the majority. Two of these were moderate independents and the other a republican. Instead, they hired three extreme leftists.

    As a consequence, any budget or redistricting changes will be made with Juneau having no seat at the prime table. If Juneau jobs are lost in the process our legislators will have little say in the matter. But hey, at least we can commiserate knowing our reps are all in agreement about salmon habitat and global warming.

    Juneau will get what it wants; but that will be nothing of substance.

  • When I was more politically active in the 1980s and 1990s, Kurt and Gabrielle LeDoux were known as a husband-and-wife law partnership before Kurt’s tragic death. More importantly, they were known as stalwarts of the local Democratic Party scene in Kodiak for many years. In fact, Gabby originally ran for the Kodiak-based House seat as a Democrat. This is just from memory, but I believe she ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat once, perhaps against Alan Austerman, then the second time originally filed as a Democrat before quickly switching parties. The hows and whys are probably irrelevant, as the GOP has long been associated with the term “big tent”. Contrast that with the other side. I had a loose association during the 1980s with Bruce Kendall. As a Republican, he was best known as House speaker during the 1964 earthquake, then later switched parties himself. When I knew him, he and a close business associate named Chuck Doulgerakis were leaders of the very small conservative faction within the Alaska Democratic Party. When you look at the ADP today, it’s inconceivable that such a faction could have ever existed.

  • Suzanne keep up the good reporting it would not surprise me that Gary would jump ship for power!

    I hope he takes the bait because there’s a big possibility of a real Conservative Challenger next time, I am told. These RINO’s will soon enough become their own worst enemies.

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