Peninsula Republicans ‘invite’ Rep. Seaton to switch



Lower Peninsula Republicans — from Soldotna to Homer — penned an open letter from District 31 explaining why they no longer believe Rep. Paul Seaton can claim to be a Republican, and why they are moving to kick him off the Republican primary ballot this year.

The Alaska Republican Party has taken similar measures.  Seaton and his fellow “Musk Oxen” House members, Gabrielle LeDoux and Louise Stutues , are not entitled to financial support from the party or any of its affiliates. The party has also asked the State Division of Elections to drop them from the Republican primary ballot.  Under Democrat Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, the division has so far rejected that request.

The District 31 letter was released today and included an attachment outlining some of Seaton’s more egregious betrayals to the Republicans who advanced him to the General Election ballot in 2016, where he faced no Democrat opponent.

Seaton, 72, from Homer, is a registered Republican who formed an alliance with the Democrats. The Democrats put him in charge of the Finance Committee, where he serves as co-chair and continues his efforts to roll out an income tax on Alaskans. He is also a perennial advocate for raising oil taxes.

Seaton won his 2016 Republican primary with 48 percent of the vote, with two Republicans opposing him. John Cox won 27 percent and Mary Wythe took 25 percent.

He is seen to be at risk if only one candidate runs against him in the Republican primary this year. At this stage, two Republicans have filed: John Cox and Sarah Vance. A third, from the Funny River area, is rumored to be considering a run.

The District 31 Republican organization would like to eliminate the advantages Seaton enjoys as an incumbent.

The letter from District 31 Republicans, denying Seaton access to this year’s primary ballot, is reprinted here in its entirety, with attachments:


To our Fellow Citizens and Friends:

District 31 Republicans respect open dialogue and the sharing of opposing views in a constructive format. We believe in holding our elected representatives accountable for what they do and how they represent the people.

That’s why the Alaska Republican Party took the unprecedented step of denying Representative Paul Seaton access to the primary ballot as a Republican in this year’s Legislatve election. We feel it is critical to communicate our concerns to the community directly so people understand why this step was taken and explain how this action will improve our democratic process.

We believe that presenting our position in a clearly articulated open forum removes any cloud of secrecy or “hidden motives” that might cause resentment. In an effort to enlighten the community on the specific issues and legislation that demonstrate how Paul Seaton has turned his back on area Republicans, we have included his positions and voting record on Page three.

The Alaskan Republican Party and local District 31 have the legal authority —backed by precedent—to prevent Seaton from running as a Republican. Political partes are associations of like-minded individuals with broad constitutional protections to define their terms of association. While ARP continues to welcome all people of every race and cultural background who share our values, we are unwilling to let the government force us to accept our rivals’ abuse of our name and our Republican Party label in the upcoming primary election. As much as Paul Seaton may insist that he is not our adversary, his actions prove otherwise. Republican leadership and caucuses are united in their position: Paul Seaton cannot appear on the ballot as a Republican. Not in District 31, not anywhere.

The views expressed here are not those of every Republican, but they do speak for the majority and are the result of leadership votes at every level. Paul Seaton’s actons diverge completely from Republican priorities. His voting record, summarized on the following pages, constitutes such a clear break from his professed party affiliation and its objectives, that we regard him as destructive to our party.

Finally, we acknowledge that this is a big step and it has not been taken lightly. It is a necessary step to preserve our integrity and purpose as a party. This is a grass-roots effort, not orchestrated by outside activists, party bosses or “big oil”, as some will suggest. Republicans in District 31 are speaking up. We are the voice behind this initiative and for too long our voices have been silenced by a person pretending to support Republican priorities.

Representative Seaton is not being denied his right to free speech or free association. He switched his allegiance and association voluntarily and decided to associate with the Democratic party. The Democratic party is where his true allegiance resides and where his opinions are welcomed and rewarded. Paul Seaton has “made his nest”.

The action by ARP has already strengthened democracy and the election process by encouraging other Republican candidates to step forward to seek the endorsement of our party, potentially resulting in several choices to represent our party in the General election. This is precisely what primaries are intended to do. Yet, for too long Mr. Seaton has used our party label to advance his own personal interests, not those of our party.

Mr. Seaton is welcome to run for office as a Democrat. If he is honest and true to his principles, he should do exactly that. In any event, Seaton has no right to complain about “why he cannot be what he is not, a Republican”

Thank you,

District 31 Republican Officers

Nona Safra, Chair
Michael Fell, Vice Chair
Julie Wasser, Secretary
Kathy Wallace, Assistant Secretary
Eileen Becker, Treasurer


Paul Seaton’s Voting Record

Seaton, as Finance Co-Chair, plays “hide and seek” with the budget and government spending. His recent explanation of a $200 million “oops” in a “supplemental appropriation” is an example of dodging accountability.

Seaton has presided over the most contentious, partisan, “do-nothing” session in our history. His defection to the Democrats placed his individual interests (desire for power and status) ahead of the people and led directly to our current impasse on necessary budget reductions.

Seaton has presided over two budgets that have taken half your dividend and cut ZERO from the combined operating budget—at a time when we clearly need reductions in spending. Alaska’s government spending is the highest per-capita in the nation, by a huge margin, and yet Seaton believes we have nowhere left to cut. Seaton supports the Governor’s fuel tax, his payroll tax, and removal of property tax exemptions for seniors, all of which drain capital from our private sector.

Seaton supports reneging on promised tax credits–admittedly generous, but which were promised.

Seaton favors taking more of your dividend through creative “restructuring” and POMV—lower payouts that do nothing to protect the Permanent Fund.

Seaton led the effort to expand Medicaid, with hidden costs and no controls—a decision that is breaking the back of working Alaskans. Seaton consistently disregards the needs and health of the private sector.

Seaton rates among the lowest in the Legislature every year in terms of “Supportive of Alaska Business”. Seaton voted for looser sentencing and drug laws, leading to our present crime wave and drug epidemic.

Seaton’s District has the second highest unemployment rate in the State. After a decade in the Legislature, nothing has changed. His record in support of jobs and economic opportunity reflects ZERO concern for private sector.

For example: he supports HB142 that RAISES unemployment insurance on businesses to fund more unemployment benefits that his policies (or lack thereof) has created!

Seaton consistently fails to support reforms to existing wage and hour laws that kill employment and entrepreneurship in Alaska.

Seaton rejects reasonable repairs to our worker’s compensation system.

Every year, Seaton leads the charge to increase oil taxes, already the highest in the free-market world. He thinks higher taxes creates more revenue.

Seaton has introduced bills to increase mining tax and gravel extraction tax. His sponsorship of bills on mixing zones were so burdensome that our own shore-based treatment plants and ferry system would not comply.

Seaton refused to allow any Republican amendments last session that sought even minor reductions to the budget onto the floor for a vote. His representations that the total operating budget was cut in 2017 (i.e. without capital spending and reductions to dividend) is unsupported by facts.

Seaton, for over a decade, has continuously voted against building strong families, against parental rights, against protections for private property rights, and for increased regulation and Federal Government oversight (Prop 2, Law of the Seas Treaty). 

Seaton wastes inordinate amounts of public time on the issue of Vitamin D, spending an entire finance meeting during a special session arguing how Vitamin D can save Alaska $250 million.


  1. As I read this, Mallott says that Seaton cannot be excluded from the R primary? Is there legal precedent for this one way or another? Or is this going to be another Supreme Court case?

    • The Division of Elections has denied the Republican Party’s request to exclude Seaton from the Republican primary ballot in this Dec. 7 letter:

      Dear Mr. Babcock,
      Thank you for your letter of December 4, 2017. The Division will not take any action at this time for several reasons. First, assuming the Party’s rule was validly adopted, submission of a rule change to the Division of Elections at this date is untimely under AS 15.25.014. Elections deadlines must be strictly construed. See, e.g., State v. Jeffrey, 170 P.3d 226, 234 (Alaska 2007). The superior court’s order of October 17, 2017 in Alaska Democratic Party v. State (1JU-17-563 CI)—a case involving a change to a different rule—does not toll that statutory deadline. Second, Alaska law currently allows any registered Republican to run in the Republican primary, and Alaskan Independence Party v. Alaska, 545 F.3d 1173 (9th Cir. 2008) is controlling precedent on this issue. Finally, none of the three candidates targeted by the proposed rule change has yet filed for re-election in 2018, so any action by the Division would be premature at this time.
      If you have any questions, please let me know. Sincerely,
      Josie Bahnke Director

  2. I think that District 31 Republicans should stop wasting their time dealing with Mr Seaton and focus on an effort to have only one person run against him in the primary if he continues to run as a Republican. But, Republicans do not have a good history in this area, because they quite often split themselves up in the political arena. John Cox and Sarah Vance should come to an agreement that only one of them will run against Mr. Seaton in the Republican primary. Then the chances of Mr. Seaton winning the primary would be severely diminished.

    I will be surprised if John Cox and Sarah Vance make that agreement.

  3. Well, this was certainly informative. All this time I thought it was an individual’s right to decide what party he/she wants to belong to. And I thought that the voters got to choose who represents them in the legislature. Silly me! I just learned that a group of disgruntled functionaries can assume those powers and exclude whomever they don’t deem worthy. Party loyalty is the only real criterion that matters to the Republican establishment. Good policy, public interest, collaboration are all at best irrelevant, and more commonly are cause for condemnation.

  4. Terry Johnson, you are correct, it is an individuals right to decide what party they wish to belong to. However, when one chooses to run for elected office under a party banner, it is understood that they will adopt the party platform. To do otherwise is a disservice to the other party members. If Mr Seaton is not comfortable with the Republican platform he should consider running under a party banner he can support, or run as an independent.

  5. Good bye Mr. Seaton
    Alaska District 31 Republicans have increased the pressure on Paul Seaton to leave the Republican party. A strong letter to Lower Peninsula Republicans was sent to voters and released to the media, joining the Alaskan Republican Party in its demand that Paul Seaton change his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
    Titled “Open Leter to the Lower Peninsula Community” . The leter was sent by Nona Safra and the District 31 Board and endorsed by Party Vice Chair, Jon Faulkner
    Let’s take a peek into that letter.
    The good news for District 31 is that they took the approach to highlight the Seaton record, based on facts versus political rhetoric or personal animous. There are few in their district or the state that deny Paul Seaton has turned his loyalty to the Democratic party. The letter highlights where Seaton abandoned the Republican Party and joined with Democrats in Juneau. In the area of legislation, he voted the Democratic line.
    This letter from District 31 drops the gauntlet, Mr. Seaton you are not one of us.
    In general, the letter explains Seatons votes or proposals to increase senior citizen taxes , his favor of seizing the PFD, his plan to create a State income tax and his support for a State sales tax. Amongst other legislative positions.
    How Seaton can justify remaining a Republican is a mystery. If the Republican party has anything to say about it: mystery solved he is not a Republican.
    The Alaskan Republican Party insists that it be represented by Republicans, it is not a novel idea.
    Perhaps Paul Seaton can lift his head from feeding at the Democratic trough long enough to listen , change parties and go back to the trough. He receives less than 8% of his contributions from Republicans, most of it is from Democrats and Democrat PACs.
    Four Points::
    For District 31: Paul Seaton, we do not want you.
    For Paul Seaton: Say good bye and “move on” (your true party slogan)
    For Democratic Party: Paul Seaton has joined you in the house, will you accept him as a party member?
    For Republican Party: Paul Seaton = delete.
    Stay tuned folks, it will be interesting and exciting. There is nothing like a good political contest on the Southern Peninsula.

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