Rep. George Rauscher, who defeated Rep. Jim Colver in 2016 in District 9, has filed to run for the Senate seat vacated by Mike Dunleavy, who is running for governor.
Rauscher, a 38-year Sutton resident, ran a scrappy “Rock Solid Rauscher” campaign against a well-funded and union-backed Colver in the August primary. He easily won over Pam Goode, the Constitution Party candidate.
Colver had been targeted for removal by the Alaska Republican Party because he was part of the Musk Ox Coalition with Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, and Louise Stutes. That group broke from the House Majority Republicans and ultimately flipped the House to Democrat control.
Known for his casual, cowboy drawl, Rauscher represents a wide area that encompasses Big Delta, Delta, Farm Loop, Fishhook, Glennallen, Sheep Mountain, Sutton, Valdez, and Whittier.
Rauscher applied to be appointed to the seat, which became vacant in mid-January, but Gov. Bill Walker rejected his name, explaining through his press secretary that a small handmade sign Rauscher had put on his office door disqualified him to be a senator. The sign was a jab at Democrats who have gotten themselves into trouble with sexual harassment and dating violence.
Even though he was not going to be appointed to the seat, Rauscher had intended to run for it, so he was at the Division of Elections at 5 pm, filing his paperwork.
“This is a time when the people of District E need an experienced representative in Juneau who has the political understanding and historically holds the same values as their outgoing senator,” he said.
Rauscher has served on the Sutton City Council, Jonesville Public Use Committee, Alpine 31 Road Service Advisory Board, and Primary Ma-Su Borough Road Service Advisory Board.
During his first year in office, he sponsored legislation to restore the full Permanent Fund dividend to eligible citizens, and he sponsored legislation to create the Jonesville Public Use Area. That bill has been stuck in a drawer by Rules Chair LeDoux.
Randall Kowalke has also filed a letter of intent to run for the District E Senate seat. He was the governor’s first choice to replace Dunleavy, but the District E Republicans pushed back on the appointment, and he was not confirmed by the Senate.
Kowalke was elected to the Assembly in the October 2015, borough election, representing Assembly District No. 7, which encompasses Meadow Lakes west to the border of the borough; and the northern border of the borough up to the Denali Highway.