ALASKA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHANGES RULES
Call it the “Musk Ox Rule.”
Rep. Gabby LeDoux wasn’t the only Republican who ran on the Republican ticket, but switched immediately to caucus with Democrats after the 2016 election.
The Anchorage representative traded in her party for a chairmanship of the House Rules committee of the Democrat-led House caucus.
Joining her in defecting from the Republican caucus were Reps. Louise Stutes of Kodiak, and Paul Seaton of Homer, the remaining members of what is known as the Musk Ox Coalition. One of their members was removed in the 2016 primary when George Rauscher took on former Rep. Jim Colver to represent District 9.
On Saturday, the Republican Party of Alaska said “enough is enough” for the three Musk Oxens who remain. The State Central Committee, meeting in Anchorage, approved a rule change that can prevent perceived traitors from being on the Republican primary ballot.
The vote went overwhelmingly in favor of the rule change, which was made possible by a recent court ruling that allows Democrats to permit nonpartisans to run on the Democrats’ primary ballot.
The State Central Committee then took a vote on each of the Musk Ox members and unimously threw them off the primary ballot. They will not be allowed to run in any Republican primary. The group voted unanimously to allow Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock the authority to enforce the rule.
The ruling by Judge Philip Pallenberg regarding the Democrats is under challenge to the Alaska Supreme Court.
The logic is that if a judge allows Democrats to decide who can run on their ballot, then it applies to Republicans as well.
As a member of the Democrat caucus, LeDoux has pushed for an income tax. In April, she grabbed the microphone from Rep. Neal Foster during a press conference and intoned, “If the Senate thinks we are going to get out of here with just the POMV (Permanent Fund restructuring) they have another think coming.” She did not get her income tax, and the Permanent Fund restructuring was not passed by the House, furthering the fiscal crisis that the Legislature faces this coming January, when it convenes.
DECISION TIME FOR LEDOUX, STUTES, SEATON
Now, LeDoux will have to make a choice. Republican Aaron Weaver has filed for District 15 to run against LeDoux in the August primary. LeDoux will have to run as an undeclared, which would mean gathering signatures, or run on another party’s primary ticket.
Presumably the same applies for Reps. Stutes and Seaton.
Chairman Tuckerman Babcock will inform the Division of Elections on Monday that the three — Stutes, LeDoux, and Seaton — are ineligible to run in the Republican primary, he said.
Babcock said all three were given the opportunity under previous rules to explain themselves. All three made their cases a year ago to the State Central Committee, which rejected their arguments, and passed a rule to prevent any Republican Party campaign funds being used to help them, and authorized recruitment of opponents.
Now, with the new rule, they have been ruled out of the primary altogether.