An effort by gubernatorial candidate Christopher Kurka failed today at the Alaska Republican Party’s State Central Committee’s quarterly meeting. The vote was overwhelming against it.
Kurka, a Republican who is running to the right of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, requested the endorsement through his supporters. He has been a harsh critic of Dunleavy since announcing his candidacy in November. He is running a lean campaign, having raised $112,000 but having spent most of it. Overall, he raised $112,692, spent $114,885 and has campaign debt of $8,400. His campaign cash-on-hand in his official 30-day report was $2,653.
As a candidate for governor, he is not able to be a candidate to return to the Alaska House of Representatives, where he has served since January, 2021, representing Wasilla.
Meanwhile, Joe Wright, a candidate for Senate Seat L, received the party’s overwhelming endorsement. Other Republican candidates for that seat are Rep. Ken McCarty and Rep. Kelly Merrick.
After debate, Rep. Merrick (shown in photo above) was censured by the Alaska Republican Party for caucusing with the Democrat-controlled majority in the House. She is now running for Senate but the party sent her a big message today — her behavior has cost her the support of the party officers, who voted heavily in favor of the censure, the second one the officers have passed regarding her in the past year.
There were numerous other endorsements today, including one for Elijah Verhagen for State Senate representing Fairbanks. The SCC did not, however, endorse the sitting incumbent Sen. Click Bishop, a Republican. The party endorsed Republican Sen. Mia Costello of Anchorage, who is facing off against Rep. Matt Claman, a Democrat. Tuckerman Babcock, running for Senate for Kenai, was endorsed by the party; but Jesse Bjorkman, his Republican opponent, was not.
Heath Smith of Homer was endorsed for Senate but incumbent Republican Sen. Gary Stevens was not.