HOUSE STALEMATE MAY COME TO AN END
Rep. Gary Knopp told Republican District 30 Chair Neal DuPerron tonight that he will vote for the Republican Speaker nominee, Dave Talerico of Healy.
If he follows through on his word, that means the House of Representative’s stalemate will end on Tuesday, and a fragile 21-member Republican majority will organize, with Rep. Cathy Tilton as Rules Chair, and Lance Pruitt and Tammy Wilson as co-chairs of Finance. Chuck Kopp would be majority leader.
This is essentially the same leadership team that formed the day after the General Election on Nov. 6.
The tide seemed to be turning the opposite direction earlier today, with four Republicans forging an agreement with Democrats to put Democrat Rep. Bryce Edgmon back in as Speaker for the next two years.
The House floor session, originally scheduled for 11 am, was postponed after polling data was made available to House Republicans, showing broad support for the governor’s plan to build a budget that Alaska can afford, and then ask Alaskans how they want to pay for additional spending.
The Republican House members engaged in an internal debate about whether or not they should even see the information. In the end, most of them went to the presentation.
That polling information turned out to be what Republicans needed to find their mojo and start working together for a 21-member majority.
Although Knopp was not in attendance at the public opinion presentation, he was getting his own dose of public opinion information. Tonight, his District Republicans voted 10 to 8 to send him a letter telling him to either rejoin the Republican majority or resign.
Knopp was also having to face a scheduled Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Kenai/Soldotna on Friday, and a town hall meeting on Friday evening, where local conservatives were activating.
The struggle to establish control has been not only about who gets which committee. The party that the Speaker is a member of also gets to choose one person for the upcoming redistricting board, which will adjust political boundaries after the next U.S. Census in 2020.
The House is scheduled to gavel in at 10 am on Tuesday.