Breaking: Louise Stutes becomes Speaker with Merrick going over for deciding vote


Rep. Kelly Merrick, a Republican from House District 14, was the one who became the 21st vote, putting Rep. Louise Stutes in as House Speaker today, in a Democrat-led majority.

Speaker Louise Stutes

The vote was 21-19, with all other votes for Stutes being Democrats and Undeclared. The Republicans have, once again, lost the House.

Stutes had been negotiating with the Republicans, but she has not caucused with them in several years. Her demands to become House Speaker for a Republican-led body were too much for the 20 other Republicans in the House.

Except Merrick, who was first elected in 2018, and reelected last year for a conservative Eagle River district.

The Legislature has been in session for three weeks, and the House remained unorganized until the House session this morning, with Josiah Patkotak as Speaker Pro Tem.

Merrick may be bringing other Republicans to join the majority caucus. Republicans in the House are likely in disarray as they try to organize a minority, and will find out soon who else may go over to the Democrats’ caucus. It’s likely the Democrat caucus will offer Rep. Sara Rasmussen a key position, as some perceive her as a close ally of Merrick. Whether Rep. Bart LeBon also goes over is also considered a possibility.

Rep. Kelly Merrick

With 21, the Democrats have the majority, but if they can get that 22nd member, they win a seventh seat on Finance, which is very advantageous.

What position will Merrick get? A likely choice would be co-chair of Finance, since she served on Finance the past two years.

Democrats have recognized that an anti-abortion lawmaker like Merrick is in no position to hurt the pro-abortion cause because of the budget and Covid factors now dominating the Legislature.

With Stutes as Speaker, Rep. Bryce Edgmon will most certainly win a powerful position in the organization, possibly as Rules chair.

Stutes is a take-no-prisoners lawmaker who was known for having a bullwhip hanging on the wall of her office when she was majority whip for the Democrats.

District 14 Republicans said at their last meeting with Merrick she promised them she would not go over to create a Democrat majority. But with Stutes a Republican now as Speaker, she appears to have kept her promise.

This story is being updated. Check back.


  1. As a constituent of Rep. Merrick I am disappointed but not really surprised. This is the seat formerly held by Rep. Lora Reinbold that she won because a ding-a-ling split the conservative vote. The District 14 conservative base will not appreciate her duplicity. This ain’t Kodiak Island you know…

        • The Alaska republican party is dead, they don’t have any ethics of strength. The nasty corrupt democrats stick together no matter how much they hurt our state and residents. I will not support them in the future, it’s a wasted vote.

          • Somehow I have a feeling that the House would still be controlled by the Democrats, even if all 40 representatives were Republican. Edgmon or Stutes would miraculously get 21 votes to be Speaker

  2. Once again the Republicans cave! What cowards ! Here we go again!
    Queen Giessel 2.0 court is in session! What a disgrace!

  3. So Kelly Merrick voted with the Democrats. She is Republican in Name Only. Please folk note who votes RINO, and let’s get rid of them. Democrats are our enemy from within our borders. They give our hard earned money and jobs to many foreign countries, such as China, Iran, Russia, and others. They take an oath of allegiance to the constitution just to get in and break their oath. That is domestic tyranny. Why is the NRA fighting multiple defense cases instead of prosecuting and creating felons of those terrorists, and demanding the removal of their citizenship benefits and entitlements?

    • John I feel your passion however regarding the NRA there’s so much controversy around that organization if you don’t know I would politely suggest you look into it deep corruption and wasting of funds at the highest level. As a voting member of that organization I’m now ashamed and will no longer give them another dime by the way the Anchorage and Mat-Su chapters of friends of NRA are also corrupt. They will get nothing not one penny out of us or our business ever again. We have addressed our grievances with the gentleman who wears the eyepatch, state representative for all things NRA. He and the national office could care less. They’re all about the money. Misdeeds of the local miscreants are buried and swept under the rug.

  4. Merrick is done in Eagle River area. We do not take kindly to being stabbed in the back. Maybe we recruit Jamie Allard to run against Merrick but that would remove our voice from the Anchorage Assembly.

  5. RINOs continue to contaminate the Republican Party and are not representing the people. It will be up to the people to change this! Also, we need to start a voter integrity petition to get Measure 2 repealed as unconstitutional, then make sure Alaska’s election laws call for voter I.D. with signature verification in case of contested elections. Included with this, there should be zero electronic voting, paper ballots only!

  6. I questioned Merrick publicly about her Union Boss Husband when she first ran for office in 2016.
    Merrick swore she was a conservative to the core.
    We shall not forget.

    • Oh well your first clue should have been the union boss husband. Should have told you everything you needed to know.
      And now you do know.

    • I too asked her the same question, when she ran the first time (which I believe was in 2018). She assured me that they do not talk politics at home. Finding that statement to be questionable, she did not get my vote then. In her first term she stuck with her conservative brethren and I was pleasantly surprised, so she received my vote for this her second term. Fool me once….
      Do I believe Louise Stutes when she says, there was no discussion with Kelly Merrick beforehand? Actually yes I do, however one wonders what discussion happened between Kelly and Joey?

  7. Eagle River has its share of weaklings too, the ones who choose not to live inside Anchorage so close to what has been apparent happening the last 25 years moving left. Kelly is showing her character another Runaway professional. I can understand plain o’ laborers low educated voters running away from a community on the decline, but when you have professionals like Kelly running away then there is the problem. They have the tools do improve and refuse to do anything. Even if Eagleriver takes its Exit from Anchorage, how long will Eagleriver independence last before it sees it also is electing compromising leaders easily intimidated by Alaska Democrats? Soon enough more Anchorage Democrats and low educated voters will be moving north if Anchorage gets a Democrat mayor. So, Eagleriver and Wasilla better start educating one another who is already living and get their act together.

    • Please lay off the wine or proofread your stuff at least before you hit send, you make no sense but it’s sure fun to read. Kind of. Sheesh.

  8. The ghost of Gary Knopp has come back to haunt the Capitol. Democrats and Stutes pulled off their late-night seance, with masks off, and Oiuji Boards crackling. So much for getting any voter integrity laws passed this year…… or next.

  9. Says so much how little Alaska Democrats think of Equity. They could voted for Paktoyak become the real speaker of the house. Someone who actually looks and is closer to representing Alaska Native life than Edgman. Democrats are do full of it when it comes to being Equitable with others not white. Change the Native man with a WHITE woman. HA!

  10. And you notice this never seems to work the other way. We don’t have republicans pretending to be democrats. An issue of integrity and honesty I would say. Many liberals have no problem compromising and pretending to be something they are not in order to get what they want. We seem to have had an endless list of RINO’s in past years. These people really need to be seriously vetted before gaining a single vote.

  11. Wonder when people will finally realize that voting for “Republicans” is voting for cowardice, do nothing-ism, and business as usual. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Local, state, national…no difference. They’ll promise everything, give nothing. After not missing an election in 53 years, I’m done voting. From Stutes to McConnell, they’re all the same. To Hell with them all.

  12. What irony! Bastards make the best case for abortion. This will temp many practical Republicans to quit the part so as to join the Democrats to support abortion! Eagle River Republicans need to fix this.

  13. I first saw Republican but I took one look at Ms Stutes and knew right away Democrat in disguise. I was reading our local news and she is loved by the Democrats Hannan and Story. Getting ugly fast, we’ll fit right in with Cali, Oregon, and Washington.

  14. This story says Merrick has joined a Democrat majority but the other says she hasn’t using her own words, one of them is wring and needs to be updated.

  15. Look at all the hand wringing on here by those that don’t understand politics-I suspect that Merrick will get a nice chairmanship out of the deal for Eagle River constituents. The proof of the pudding will be the organization. Should be a hoot IMO.

  16. Oh well your first clue should have been the union boss husband. Should have told you everything you needed to know.
    And now you do know.

  17. Once again, the juvenile sentiment is running strong in MRAK. Most of the commenters here seem to just want their representatives to reflexively vote ‘R’ and serve narrow, hardline partisan interests. Whatever happened to what’s best for Alaska? I’ve voted for ‘Rs’ and ‘Ds’ and Indys and Undeclared. Are we not able to think more broadly about how how we’re going to govern and reach a compromise on the various issues confronting our state? Too many of you just want to score partisan points and reaffirm your preexisting worldview than be challenged by alternative viewpoints, work with people who might come to different conclusions than you and learn from the experiences of others. Instead of charging “treason” or “RINO” why don’t we see if this majority coalition is able to present workable solutions to our problems? Alaska is a diverse state with a diversity of political expression. Get out of your bubble.

    • I like the spirit of this comment. All the “RINO” talk is ridiculous – there aren’t enough Republicans to win an election anywhere if the tent keeps shrinking. In fact, the party is splitting at the seams at the national level after the last four years of chaos and may spin off TWO more parties. This move by Representative Merrick looks like a shrewd political move to me and was probably planned from within, to get things going vs. sitting in Juneau and doing nothing.

    • Dear Sir, with all due respect, you are missing the point. I believe most people here are not upset because they are hell-bend on scoring party points. We simply object to being lied to and manipulated. I can’t speak for you, but when I give some one my vote, it is because they have the same goals and values. I have no problem with a good and honest discussion , to find the best solution. However in recent years it has become apparent that only one group is supposed to be “reasonable” and “make compromises”, while the other just stone-walls and waits, come hell or high water. There is no reasonable and productive discussion to be had in an environment such as that.
      Furthermore one could understand Mrs. Merrick’s actions, if she had had a discussion with her colleagues and constituents. While we may not have liked it, it would have been honest and upfront. Instead she blind-sided everyone

    • You mean, like how the Democrats NEVER reflexively vote “D” along narrow, hardline partisan lines? Such as in both of Trump’s sham impeachments?
      Hypocrisy, thy name is Democrat.
      (None of that is to be implicitly taken as supportive of Republicans.)

  18. How is it that Alaska keeps voting for Republican majorities in The House and yet keep ending up with Democratic leadership? Ms. Downing, will you ask Mr. Clary what is going on?

  19. With 11 years in Alaska, and being somewhat involved with the Republican Party (having served on the state Central Committee for a while), I never understood why the Republican majority/plurality House could not figure out a way to get majority control of the House. Amazing that they didn’t figure out a way to lose the Senate.

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