The State Central Committee of the Alaska Republican Party will consider a resolution at its Dec. 1o meeting to withdraw support from Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton and Louise Stutes for their violation of Article 9, Section f(5) of the party’s rules.
That section discusses the party’s possible actions to sanction incumbents who do things that are detrimental to Alaska Republicans or to Republican values and goals.
The three, who are known as the Musk Ox Coalition, have joined with House Democrats in the Alaska House to create a Democrat-run majority that plans to roll out an income tax on working Alaskans this year.
The Nov. 8 General Election saw 21 Republicans elected to the House, enough to hold onto a fragile majority. But when those three bolted to become part of a Democratic caucus, Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock issued a swift rebuke, inviting them to leave the Republican Party altogether.
In a note to party officers today, Babcock wrote regarding the “defection of three Republican State House members from their colleagues. The three defectors crossed over and put the Democrats in charge of the State House, for the first time in about 25 years. This despite the fact that Alaskans voted to elect 21 Republicans to the State House. Three of our Republican State House members abandoned their team, abandoned their party and abandoned their responsibility to serve.” The item has been placed on the agenda for review and determination.
One member of the Musk Ox Coalition was sanctioned earlier this year and lost his re-election bid as a result. Rep. Jim Colver, a freshman legislator from District 9, was voted out of office during the August primary, and George Rauscher, his Republican challenger, went on to an easy victory in November.
Will such sanctions apply to the remaining three members of the Musk Ox Coalition, who have now joined the Democrats? Babcock has shown no inclination to back down in enforcing party rules and preventing the party from being exploited as a path to office for those who do not share its values.
There is also the possibility of a fourth Musk Ox emerging. It is rumored that freshman Garry Knopp is being courted heavily by the Democrats in order to shore up their thin majority.
Babcock now considers the Musk Oxen to be defacto Democrats. Sanctions may well include finding Republicans to challenge them in the 2018 election.