Are House GOP turncoats in trouble? Tuesday will tell - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, June 21, 2021
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Are House GOP turncoats in trouble? Tuesday will tell

ANALYSIS OF THE HOUSE PRIMARY

Tuesday is Primary Election day. Some Republicans are banking on short memories from voters.

Two years ago, Alaska voters sent more Republicans than Democrats to the House. And yet Democrats controlled the House. Some turncoat House Republicans have some serious explaining to do. 

Most blame the GOP losing control of the House on Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican. Eastman has become somewhat of a saboteur of the conservative movement. He’s even recruited candidates to run against some of the most conservative members of the Legislature. 

The word on the street is Eastman is all about Eastman. If Republicans are to gain control of the House again, Eastman losing to his primary opponent, conservative Jesse Sumner, would be the first step. Several high-profile conservative legislators are backing Sumner. 

Eastman’s rigid and stubborn style helped defeat the “Heartbeat Bill” prohibiting most abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detected. Eastman didn’t support it because he said it didn’t go far enough. Eastman’s lack of support sealed the bill’s fate.  

Pat Martin, with Alaska Right to Life, supports Eastman’s all or nothing approach to legislating. Martin has been a frequent critic of Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, on the issue of abortion. Which is odd, since the governor is solidly and consistently pro-life.  

Martin is also backing District 7 candidate Christopher Kurka in the Republican primary to replace retiring incumbent Colleen Sullivan-Leonard. Kurka is facing former legislator Lynn Gattis, a strong supporter, and friend of the governor. Sullivan-Leonard is endorsing Gattis. 

The Republican House District 28 primary between incumbent Jennifer Johnston and challenger James Kaufman is another big race that could help Republicans regain the House. Johnston is far from a conservative and made a Joe Biden like gaff this year when she admitted she believes rural Alaskans can’t handle a full dividend check. It’s odd that rural Alaska legislators remained silent on Johnston’s charge. It proves how valuable she is for the Democrat-controlled House caucus. 

Kaufman is an underdog but, in a year, where voters are upset about legislators raiding the fund instead of cutting the budget, anything can happen.

Republican in name only Chuck Kopp is facing a tough primary challenger in former GOP party boss, Tom McKay. Kopp is a liberal. He’s so much in the pocket of the unions he’s wanting to bring back a pension plan for some state employees. You think the state’s financial problems are bad now? Imagine what bringing back a pension for state workers would do. 

The unions have pumped a ton of money into Kopp’s campaign, but McKay has the backing of several prominent conservatives including former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan

Two relative newcomers will face off in the House District 23 Republican primary with candidates Connie Dougherty and Kathy Henslee. Henslee seems to be the more conservative of the two based on her endorsements, including one from former Gov. Sean Parnell. The winner will face a tough opponent in the general when they go against incumbent Democrat Chris Tuck. 

Republican Mark Neuman is another incumbent in real trouble. Neuman has been mostly a no-show on the campaign trail and is facing a tough challenger in Kevin McCabe for the House District 8 seat. McCabe’s retired Coast Guard and currently fly’s 747s for a major airline.  

The one Republican House incumbent that organized with the Democrats that has no chance of winning is Gabrielle LeDoux. Two days after the primary election, LeDoux is due in court facing a felony election fraud charge. 24-year old David Nelson is challenging Ledoux. He’s a sharp kid and an authentic conservative. But he could have ties to ISIS and still beat Ledoux. 

Expect big changes in The House this election cycle. The Democrat’s days of controlling the body should soon come to an end. 

On Monday, I’ll write about changes coming to the Senate on Primary Day.

Dan Fagan hosts a radio talk show weekday mornings from 5:30 to 8 am on NewsRadio 650 KENI.    

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  • Dan Fagan is showing his lack of understanding of conservative politics and what is going on in the Alaska legislature. Eastman is the one who has stood his ground, as conservatives have been asking their representatives to do for a long time. Finally we have someone who is implementing conservative principles no matter what the cost. So why would you replace with just another squishy, “I’ll just get along” republican? The only reason that people go after Eastman is because he stands strong on the principles and isn’t afraid to let people know what is going on in the legislature. Which is exactly the same reason that Senator Shower got punished in the caucus, because he let people know what was really going on. If you replace Eastman, you’ll just deprive the people of the light in the legislature that lets them know what goes on in the darkness.

    • The GOP turncoats are Tilton, Shaw, Leonard, Rasmussen and the other spineless puppets the are incapable and unwilling to take a stand and adhere to the Party platform.
      Some idiot spouting off such foolishness as Fagan does only makes him look like the real turncoat and a clown at best!!!

    • I hope that people know there is more than one Lance in this State/District 10 (Eastman’s District), who doesn’t agree that “implementing conservative principles no matter what the cost.” is the right course of action. It’s cowardly to post inflammatory remarks and not own up to them. Post your full name. Oh, “light vs. darkness” give me a friggin break! By ALWAYS standing alone, not even with his own demonstratively conservative Mat-Su Caucus Eastman has not served District 10 or our State well. Condoning his nutcase supporters’ bogus recall efforts and insane slander of a fellow “real” conservative without comment has cost Mr. Eastman my vote.

      • Most people know who I am. You’re the newcomer, so I’m glad you gave your full name so I can know who the liberal Lances are. You obviously don’t understand the politics of Alaska and what’s been going on. I won’t try and educate you in a comment.

  • Great commentary Dan!

  • Superb article with sound analysis. Thanks, Dan. Can’t wait to vote on Tuesday.

  • The Valley races are a different animal.

    (1) David Eastman is not the problem with the Legislature. If you followed the timing of the Heartbeat Bill, you’d know that the only reason it was introduced was because Eastman publicly embarrassed his squishy colleagues with The Life at Conception Act. They introduced the Heartbeat Bill for political cover. If this wasn’t the case, why did they wait to introduce it until right after Eastman called them out?

    (2) Pat Martin is NOT backing Christopher Kurka.

    (3) Mike Dunleavy is NOT a strong pro-life leader. When I was Executive Director of Alaska Right to Life, I helped him win his Senate seat, something even Marc Hellenthal openly acknowledged at the time. Mike promised me repeatedly that if I helped him, the Right to Life would be his #1 priority in the Senate. It NEVER WAS. In five years in the Senate, he never sponsored a single bill to end or restrict abortion. He personally promised me that he would carry amendments to SB 49, which he also reneged on. Very, very disappointed in Mike. Talk is cheap.

    (4) You really need to ask yourself why Washington DC Establishment is air-dropping tens of thousands of dollars into the Valley for safe Republican seats that have a 99.9% chance of going Republican either way. Why aren’t they spending all that money against the RINOs? Why aren’t they spending that money to win new Republican seats, to grow the Republican majority? Also ask yourself what kind of precedent that sets for future elections if the most conservative areas of the State lose their ability to pick their own representation because their seats are bought by outside money? The Republican Establishment is literally trying to disenfranchise conservatives in Alaska by flooding the State with RINO propaganda.

  • Dan Fagan says… “Eastman’s rigid and stubborn style helped defeat the “Heartbeat Bill” prohibiting most abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.”

    Oh Boy, I call BS on Dan Fagan from multiple directions. HB302 , the “Heartbeat Bill” was buried in the Health & Human Services Committee Chaired by Democrat Tiffany Zulkosky. Not only do I NOT see Zulkosky on the Co-Sponsor list the Bill was not about to budge from the bottom of her drawer to be heard. Seven people were on that Committee, SIX were not Co-Sponsors INCLUDING Republican LANCE PRUITT. If by some miracle the Bill passed Health & Human Services it would be off to Judiciary, Democrat Matt Claman, Chair, former Planned Parenthood Board Member, not a C0-Sponsor and it would live in HIS drawer. Finally if it ever got past these hurdles 19 total Co-Sponsors does not equate to the 21 votes to get across the House Floor.

  • Dan Dan the RINO MAN! Eastman for Governor!

  • Thank you Dan for great info!

  • Opposing principled conservatives and Supporting squishy moderate/liberal Republicans in name only has gotten us nowhere as a movement. It has gotten us more government and less freedom and nothing in the way of justice for the unborn. I support David Eastman not because I like him but because all the right people dislike him. They dislike him because he is not a geta-along-go-along Republican. David Eastman has my full support. My only regret is I don’t live in his distinct or I would vote for him

  • It’s hard to be more conservative than Eastman. He’s clearly very principled and willing to take the heat for adhering to his beliefs concerning policies and process, even if he’s the last man standing – which he usually is. Don’t see how he can be accused of advancing his career by walking his talk; if anything, the compromisers (see article above) work to undermine his purer form of conservatism. You wanna settle for less, go for it; but please don’t declare yourself a conservative because then you’re just another tumbleweed, blown aimlessly by the prevailing wind.

    • Billy, why using your standard one can convict Ronald Reagan of being , what was it? Oh yes, a tumble weed. You see Billy, politics is often about the possible, or getting that half a loaf as Reagan once said. Your pally Eastman is more of an Old Testament Prophet than a legislator. I don’t disagree with many of your pal’s opinions, but politics is about winning hearts and minds and or incrementally turning the ship of state to a proper heading. Being woodenheaded is no way to be right. You see Billy, we here in Alaska have a two party system, the evil party and the stupid party, Republicans are the stupid party. I fear that pride of one’s closely held beliefs and the inability to work with others who hold 85% of the same beliefs will bring about another disaster in State Government similar to the last 2 years.
      Think about it Billy, you can be so right that you may act wrongly.
      BTW, what did Eastman do in life prior to politics? Did he get along with others? I mean in a tangible sense, like cooperate to get a project done? I honestly do not know the answer to the question. Thanks.

  • I too find it off-putting when members of the party of conservative values has the gall to be conservative.

  • Correction: For better or worse, Pat Martin has not weighed in at all in District 7 and is not supporting Christopher Kurka.

  • Fagan is attacking Eastman because of that child molester bill. The all or nothing approach has enabled pedophiles to run free in our community. These perverts give freedom a bad name. Beware of masked molesters.

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