Next step for Senate Seat M: Dunleavy’s decision


The committees for House District 25 and 26 have voted on their choices for the vacancy in Senate Seat M, and the names have been forwarded to Gov. Michael Dunleavy.

Dunleavy has until Sept. 5 to make a decision among the names offered: former Sen. Dave Donley,  Albert Fogle and Rep. Laddie Shaw, shown left to right above.

On Tuesday, Dunleavy plans to interview the three. Although he isn’t bound to pick from that list, this process is steeped in tradition. When Gov. Bill Walker thumbed his nose at the tradition in 2018, he paid a hefty political price after creating turmoil for himself with the District E seat, which represents the Mat-Su Valley and a region that stretches to Valdez and Whittier. It was the seat vacated by Dunleavy when he decided to take on Walker in the 2018 election.

“The Governor takes seriously his role in filling this vacancy and will conduct a thorough and complete review before making a final determination. He hopes to make a final decision by the end of August,” said Matt Shuckerow, press secretary to the governor.

Dunleavy will consider many criteria, including the candidates’ views on the Permanent Fund dividend. Dunleavy favors giving Alaskans their entire dividend, and also back payments for amounts taken from them over the previous two years by Gov. Bill Walker and the Legislature.

He’ll also look at each candidate’s history and involvement in District M, civic engagement and relative experience, integrity and commitment to following the law, and viewpoints on policies such as government spending, resource and economic development, he said.

The seat became open when Sen. Chris Birch died earlier this month. By law, the governor has 30 days to fill the vacancy with a member of the same political party as Birch, Republican.

[Read: Three chosen for Senate Seat M]



  1. Wow. What could go wrong? Looks like Everything!
    Until they get off the Socialist bandwagon of the Dividend the better!

    You see the Dividend must be reformed into a tax-deferred Trust account. Growing faster than any other trust account.
    Much better option for most people.

  2. Dear MRAK and others, is it true that four of the potential candidates plus a spouse were also on the committee and able to vote for themselves? This seems like a conflict. I have heard only one person recused themselves. I serve on three boards and in each of them I feel my fiduciary duty is to the organization and not my own interest. Is this how the process works? It doesn’t seem like a way to introduce new prospects in the mix.

    • Yes, the rules are created at the District committee level and it was their decision that all eligible were allowed to vote, just as they would vote in any other election. -sd

    • THARTAK,
      Remember that the Legislature made it clear this year in rolling back the Ethics Bill that they wanted NO “Ethics Hurdles” placed in front of their future operation…
      “This is probably not a year we’ll be doing a lot of ethics reform,” Coghill said.

  3. Thank you SD for the confirmation, I
    have to let that sink in, but it doesn’t seem like it leaves much room for newcomers in an environment where there has been a lot of ineffectiveness. I appreciate your reporting!

  4. … and amounts taken over the past THREE years by Walker and the legislature… that totals just over 2.8 Billion if the recent investment income is figured on the 2.4 billion previously let us call “withheld” dividends. Getting a true fiscal conservative in the Legislature is no small feat. I like the field Dunleavy has to choose from…

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