Thursday, June 1, 2023
HomePoliticsMerrick jumps, named Finance co-chair for Democrat-led coalition

Merrick jumps, named Finance co-chair for Democrat-led coalition

Rep. Kelly Merrick, who represents one of Alaska’s most solid Republican districts in Eagle River, made it final on Monday — she was joining the mostly Democrat coalition.

Led by Rep. Louise Stutes as Speaker, the coalition is made up of all Democrats or undeclared Democrats, and Stutes and Merrick, who are Republicans.

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It ended a weekend of dramatic tension for House Republicans, who learned on Thursday that Merrick was leaving their caucus.

Merrick confused the matter by issuing a press release last week that said she was not joining the Democrat coalition.

“To be clear, I have not joined the Alaska House Coalition. However, like most Alaskans, I have been frustrated by taking the same fruitless votes day after day and I felt we could no longer afford to delay extending the Governor’s emergency disaster declaration, crafting a fiscally conservative budget, and passing the construction jobs bill,” Merrick wrote, referring to a disaster declaration that did not, in fact, extend, and a bond measure that the governor wants to put before voters this year to address infrastructure needs and jobs.

“Speaker Stutes has served many years in the Legislature, has personal relationships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and is committed to bringing people together to tackle issues facing Alaska,” she wrote.

In fact, Stutes had tried to convince Republicans to make her Speaker of a Republican-led coalition, but they consider her untrustworthy. Many of them report that Stutes has treated them badly during her many years of working against them, and she was not able to close that deal in recent weeks.

By Monday afternoon, Merrick had been awarded a coveted spot leading Finance, which means she has, in fact, joined the coalition, although there may be some terms she has established with the Democrats. Most likely, she will be the co-chair for the Capital Budget, which will please her union allies, including her husband, Joey Merrick, head of the Laborers Local 341 Union in Anchorage. Bryce Edgmon is the other do-chair of Finance and that indicates he was key to the negotiation to bring Merrick over. These are the coveted seats in the Legislature.

The coalition moved Merrick’s seat in the chamber away from her Republican friends Rep. Sara Rasmussen and Laddie Shaw, to have her positioned next to Democrat Rep. Zack Fields, who is credited with courting her over to the Democrat-led coalition. Until last year at least, Fields worked for Merrick’s husband as a business development director at the union, and may still hold a position with the union; the disclosure report is not on file.

The Committee on Committees was announced by Stutes on Monday. Often, it will have two members from the minority caucus, who are there to represent the interests of the members who will be awarded minority seats on committees. The Committee on Committees is made up of Speaker Stutes, with Reps. Merrick, Neal Foster, Chris Tuck and Bryce Edgmon, and minority members Reps. Sara Rasmussen and Mike Cronk, both Republicans.

In what is an unusual twist, both Merrick and Stutes are Republicans, which gives Republicans an actual majority on the Committee on Committees. But in actuality, Stutes has always favored and voted with Democrats, and so the majority Republican representation is a mirage.

The rest of committee assignments will have to wait. Stutes and Merrick are trying to tempt other Republicans to build out her coalition, which now stands at 21, with a minority caucus at 19.

The current minority strength may make that difficult, because a 19-member minority is considered powerful, and a caucus of 21 is considered unstable, because any single majority member can become a hostage-taker on issues important to him or her.

Merrick’s district is bright red, with 6,039 registered Republicans and just 1,821 registered Democrats.

Merrick received praise from many Democrat lawmakers and politicos, such as Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, a hard Democrat, who thanked her for rising above party politics to join the coalition.

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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. It won’t happen because the victims are blinded by the disease, but we need an emergency declaration to quarantine the Juneau Virus…

  2. I caught about seven kinds of Hell from my “Republican” friends when I said you couldn’t be the wife of a union business manager and also be a loyal Republican. They all screeched that she’d been Don Young’s staffer, but, Hell, Don is barely a Republican, he’s a swamp creature. Anyway, she is what she is, and the ER electorate was stupid enough to elect her- twice. Deal with it.

    • Art, Say what you want about this Representative, but by jove she is nothing if not a good submissive Wife! Old Joey rules the roost in that domicile. This being good thing amongst conservatives, right?

    • If there were 39 Republicans and Bryce Edgmon, there would still be 21 feckless RINO votes to make Edgmon speaker. Voting Republican doesn’t seem to do anything

  3. Democrats boot licker Merrick is a liar and a fraud. Is anyone really surprised? How does someone sleep with one of master Democrat string pullers, and have it not affect your judgment?
    When asked about her Union Boss old man, she lied to me and my hometown Eagle River.
    She is banking on short-term memory.
    Eagle River, We will not forget.
    By the way Merrick, when is your next Eagle River town hall meeting? Do not worry there will be plenty of good people from Eagle River attending to offset your Union Thugs in the audience. After all that is how your Joey operates.

  4. Article XI, section 8 Recall. Merrick can be recalled for “Lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties or corruption”
    ” Democrat Rep. Zack Fields, who is credited with courting her over to the Democrat-led coalition. Until last year at least, Fields worked for Merrick’s husband as a business development director at the union, and may still hold a position with the union; the disclosure report is not on file.”
    Would or could this rise to “corruption”.

  5. So why can’t the Alaska GOP do the following

    1-Eject her from the party
    2-Have known this was coming
    3-Not forced the disclosure issue
    4-Not seen through the Cowardly Lion

    Answer. They’re useless

  6. She’s joining an infamous club with many notorious names on the membership rolls; Judas Iscariot, Aldrich Ames, Benedict Arnold, Vikdun Quisling, Kim Philby, the always charming Rosenbergs plus many many more.

    She and her cronies will call the betrayal of her district an act of courage. Don’t be fooled, she sold her soul for personal gain. Perhaps she was the Manchurian Candidate all along.

    Alaska Republican Party, what say you?

  7. “Merrick confused the matter by issuing a press release last week that said she was not joining the Democrat coalition.”

    She is a lying, Democrat just like Murkowski. No surprise, considering her husband’s union position. Voters are so blind and uninformed…………….

  8. I wouldn’t had voted for Merrick, the soul of her eyes are black. Those Eagle River registered Republicans who voted for her should reevaluate their own hearts. Call it a woman’s intuition. Merrick is in the same boat as ZinK and Berkowitz. I would never trust that a child be watched by any of them; they may pick up their bad habits.
    The confusion and disloyalty is what happens not knowing the Truth or how to read people when the Truth is not in you.

    • Kelly Merrick is a kind human being, who does not look down on common folk. She stood by her husband, parented, supported her family and all Eagle River Panther families during many football seasons. Both of my sons and thousands of other families have Champions in Hockey and Football because of the Merrick Family’s tireless efforts. Being bi-partisan is not a sin if it will stop a stale mate.She is not sleeping with the enemy and she is not voting Democrat. And on the subject of Fields, if he doesn’t do his job, and bids aren’t distributed locally, within the state, and doesn’t make sure the labor force are protected, then seasonal laborers will suffer and their children will go hungry. You obviously have not gone hungry during Covid. It is apparent, you don’t labor, or know what it’s like to clean on your hands and knees, or be passed around, bullied, worked to death because no one cared if you had water or proper working conditions. Alaska’s money belongs to Alaskans. You are just a part of the self-serving mob that wants to destroy the Pubic Employees Union, the Laborers Union and capitalize on funneling money to your private interests. Or are you just against Eagle River families who work and who are good Christians?

    • Don’t worry, Prop 2 makes it illegal to vote against RINOs. And for every RINO you vote out, another 5 RINOs seem to always appear. Throw in the Dominion machines and you get permanent Democrat control of the House

  9. It would be good for Alaska if Merrick is co-chair of House Finance with responsibility for the state operating budget where she can oversee cuts and consolidations that yield 200 or 300 million dollars in savings.

    • Joe, I hope that happens. However it also is illustrative of a stronger bond between a Husband and Wife. No surprise here, voters in her district should have seen this one coming.

  10. Same S*%& Different Day. Didn’t anyone from Eagle River think that maybe because of her ties to the Unions she just MIGHT pull something like this?

    • We did, but the choice was between Merrick and a democrat. I know, not much difference, but with limited options, what can you do. Last year no primary challenger lasted to the primary election.
      I sent money to Jamie Allard’s campaign when she was challenging Merrick in our district’s primary a couple of years ago, but it was difficult to overcome the large amount of union cash backing Merrick. Now Jamie is much too valuable as an Assembly member to ask her to run for Statehouse again.
      We need someone to challenge Merrick in the 2022 primary. Any suggestions?

  11. What purpose does the republican party serve? They are just the weak arm of the democrat party. They can’t be trusted, she has abandoned her principles, ethics and morals if she joined the democrats. We conservatives are not represented by a faithful party in Alaska or Washington DC.

  12. Ah…money talks. Big union influence here, she’s in bed with (sorry). All the same big Democrat power players here with a new member. The republicans get duped again…but like I said….money talks.

  13. Fill her email box daily. Actively campaign against her often. Make a sign, stand on the corner in front of Carrs and Fred Meyer and Walmart.

  14. Voting no longer matters, and they have destroyed free speech and the right of redress of grievances. There are 3 boxes: ballot box; soap box; and the cartridge box. Which ones are left?

  15. I hear phrases like “we’ll vote them out,” “we’ll bounce all of them out of here,” and so on. No we won’t. Prop 2, mail in voting, Dominion machines…it’s all thoroughly rigged. Until we have voting reforms we will get the results as we did with the 2020 elections.

    • I hope that the legal challenge to Prop 2 is already in the works. As I understand, it violates the guidelines for a proposition (one issue), and it was so poorly written that there is too much room for interpretation before implementation. Lawyers?

    • Prop 2 and Dominion will mysteriously decide that Bill Walker is re-elected as governor, with Cathy Giessel as Lt Gov

  16. What a self-serving, power hungry, back-stabbing *&%^$#&!!!
    With Lisa the nepotism came from Daddy.
    With Merrick the nepotism comes from hubby.

  17. Mongo is right, the article about Lisa Murkowski shows she was buying the Republican Party of Alaska, that’s why they have been quiet. Politics is a corrupt dirty business.

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