Friday, June 2, 2023
HomePoliticsGame on: Tom McKay wins district endorsement over incumbent Rep. Chuck Kopp

Game on: Tom McKay wins district endorsement over incumbent Rep. Chuck Kopp


It’s been a rough week for Rep. Chuck Kopp in terms of his electability. Tom McKay, who is challenging Kopp for House, has won the support of District 24 Republicans through the pre-primary endorsement process.

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That’s a process rarely used when a Republican takes on another Republican.

Kopp posted on his Facebook page a letter last week stating he was withdrawing his request for a pre-primary endorsement from Republican Party officers of the district. He had attempted to prevent the vote, but when that failed, he withdrew his request altogether. His letter said he felt the district leaders had predetermined the outcome.

Kopp lost favor in his district for being instrumental in installing a Democrat-led House majority in 2018. Activists let him know in December that they were unhappy with him and wanted him to be part of the Republican caucus, at which time he angrily told them he didn’t need their endorsement or their money.

In addition to losing the support of Republican activists in the District 24 neighborhood of South Anchorage, Kopp was the subject of a stinging letter from business community members that went out over the weekend, raising money for his opponent, McKay, a retired oil patch engineer. Must Read Alaska obtained a copy of that letter, signed by Joe Mathis, Joe Hegna, Jim Udelhoven, Tom Walsh, Randy Beltz, Jim Laasch, Jim Palmer, Brad Osborne, Pete Stokes, Bob Stinson, Lynn Johnson, Kevin Durling, Pete Lethard, Bill Webb, and Doug Smith.

The group wrote:

As we suffer through a pandemic and an oil price crash, we are reminded of how important it is to have a state legislature that supports and promotes responsible development of our resources.

“In the 2018 election, Alaskans elected a house, a senate, and a Governor who were all committed to doing what they could to promote a business climate that attracted and supported responsible resource development.

“Unfortunately, several elected officials chose to defy the will of the people who elected them and give power to those who oppose resource development. This handful of people derailed the best opportunity Alaskans had to make critical policy decisions that would enhance our resource development efforts for years to come.

“Representative Chuck Kopp of District 24 was one of those who flipped. And flopped. Critical resource development legislation died (HB 138), even though he promised his District 24 constituents that he would carry it through, because he put people in charge who believe in a “keep it in the ground” approach to resource development.

“In the 2020 election, we have the opportunity to retire Representative Kopp. A group of us concerned about our state, our economy, and the future of resource development have decided to get behind Tom McKay, a long-time industry worker, for the House seat in Alaska’s 24th District consisting of Bayshore, Klatt and Oceanview communities. You can learn more about him at

“Please join us in supporting Tom. Click here to join with us in making a financial contribution to his race, we would greatly appreciate it.

The unflinching words of rebuke from some of the major job-creators in Alaska, calling on their colleagues to get out their checkbooks to unseat an incumbent Republican, won’t go unnoticed in the rest of the business community. Some who have already given to Kopp in the past actually signed the letter.

Kopp has enjoyed a good relationship with the Democrat-led House, which organized in 2018 with “turncoat” Republicans and made him the chair of the Rules Committee. The House has been strongly anti-business under current leadership of Speaker Bryce Edgmon, with oil industry opponents Reps. Andy Josephson and Geran Tarr installed as chairs of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Kopp started out the year with more than $27,000 in his campaign checkbook, much of it from public employee unions and foes of Gov. Mike Dunleavy, such as Ed and Catherine Rasmuson, who are trying to get the governor recalled.

McKay is a newcomer but he’s evidently already won over an important and well-connected segment of the business community at he tries to topple Kopp, who is running for the third time.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. Absolute sunshine on a cloudy day,,,, ty for this awesome news…. one down, Betrayal has its very own special price tags…

  2. “. His letter said he felt the district leaders had predetermined the outcome.”.. oh, you mean sort of like the group controlled block voting you support on budgets, PFD’s, etc.. versus one person getting one vote? Shoe, meet other foot!! ^_^

  3. What is the SB 138, the critical resource development legislation that died and is discussed in the letter? Thanks.

  4. Good. I hope this McKay guy wins and I wish him well. Kopp is the worst kind of glad-handing establishment insider, from the same ilk as the Imhoffs, Giessels, and Johnston’s of the world. They think we work for them, and that we should shut up and obey. We need to send a clear message, that they work for us and that we are paying attention.

  5. McKay is a newcomer? Isn’t this the same Tom McKay who was the Republican party executive director in 1998. The guy who said Lindauer cleared the air. Than a month later was asking the state to delay the general election as the republicans did not have a viable candidate. Nothing like bringing back quality leadership.

  6. Should be a good test of the Great Alaska LeDoux Vote Experiment…
    Hard to imagine with all the money and power at stake that McKay would be allowed to win…

  7. Here are some things to think about here.

    There are about 3,400 registered Republicans in District 24 . By party rule, the district committee that acted here lists 14 seats or possible votes, depending on the number of precinct leaders. In fact, though, the committee has only six filled positions. Three voted to endorse. The chair ruled that there was a quorum and that three votes constitutes a majority of the committee, and inferentially 3,400 Alaskan Republicans.

    To reach this absurd result, the rules need to be revised or the management of District 24 needs to be revised.

    • Thanks for the info. In District 8 we did better. 7 of the 9 on the executive committee voted to endorse Kevin McCabe. It’s safe to say that Rep Neuman was a no Vote and seeing as how Senator Wilson spoke before the vote and told us he was against pre-primary endorsements I believe we can surmise who the other no vote was. District 8’s endorsement of McCabe was also approved by the SCC yesterday. Furthermore, our District Chairman opened the meeting to any District 8 Republicans and Mr. Neuman was given 10 minutes to express his opinions. Mr. Neuman requested an endorsement as well and a meeting was scheduled but Mr. Neuman canceled.

  8. Interesting that Must Read reports “His letter said he felt the district leaders had predetermined the outcome.” How could he have known that? Perhaps it was the “Tom McKay” yard signs in the front yards of 2 of the 3 committee members (the “majority”) who voted to endorse McKay. And there are photos to prove it! Stacked deck? What do YOU think? BTW, Party Rules state that “In all non-endorsed races (which the District 24 race was at that point) No…Committee…member shall publicly advocate the candidacy of one Republican legislative candidate over any other Republican candidate prior to a Primary Election.” Hmmm. Level playing field? I think not!

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