Wednesday, May 31, 2023
HomePoliticsRepublican Party reluctant to sanction Reps. Johnston, Kopp

Republican Party reluctant to sanction Reps. Johnston, Kopp

The Alaska Republican Party voted against sanctioning Reps. Jennifer Johnston and Chuck Kopp for their role in enabling the Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives through their actions in joining the Democrat caucus in February, 32 days into the session.

The caucus with the Democrats formed after the longest legislative standoff in Alaska history.

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Kopp represents District 24 and Johnston represents District 28, both Anchorage districts.

The vote was 40 against sanctioning them, with 21 in favor of the motion to sanction.

The tally came after vigorous, but respectful debate about the importance of enforcing party rules vs. allowing the sanctions to emerge from the local Republican districts first, before a state party vote is held.

That’s the sequence that occurred with the sanction of Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai in a State Central Committee meeting in May. The party had also sanctioned Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux and Louise Stutes previously, for the same general offense of joining the Democrats’ caucus and installing a Democrat speaker.

In January, Kopp and Johnston, along with Reps. Steve Thompson, Bart LeBon, Tammie Wilson, LeDoux, Stutes, and Knopp, formed up a majority with the minority Democrats, and staged the equivalent of a coup against the Republicans, who had chosen District 6 Rep. Dave Talerico as the House Speaker.

The Republicans had a clear majority until the eight defected.

Since then, Wilson and LeDoux have left the Democrats’ caucus, leaving six Republicans with the Democrats. Wilson has rejoined the Republican caucus, while LeDoux remains without a caucus. But the Republicans still don’t have enough to regain control of the House.

District 9 Chair Carol Carman of Wasilla offered a motion to withdraw party support for just Kopp and Johnston, since they were the two who tipped the balance of power, which enabled a Democrat to become speaker and control the House’s appointment to the redistricting board.

“The party realizes we are all trying to do the right thing. We’re all invested in making Alaska a great place for future generations,” Johnston said.

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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.


    • … and produce poor results. Empowering the Democrats resulted in continuation of spending policies that are inconsistent with Conservative principles. Reps Kopp and Johnston will be hard pressed to identify any legislative outcomes that they can be proud of. All their defection accomplished was a continuation of the spending orgy.

  1. Ah- the magic confluence of deceptive marketing and political opportunism; Ds that run as Rs to dupe conservative districts into voting for them, and then wait for the right opportunity to abandon their party and stab their colleagues and constituents in the back.

    It’s not unique to Alaskan politics, but it’s been refined to an art form by several generations of politicians..

  2. If the Republican Party doesn’t get some spine we might as well roll over and give way to the Democrats rapeing our PFD and pushing Alaska into deeper fiscal hole. I am disgusted with the whole lot of you!

  3. I think we have 25% registered Democrats in the state?

    The Democrats control:
    Anchorage Assembly,
    Anchorage School Board,
    Mayor’s office, and the House of Representatives.

    I want to make certain that today’s message and vote by the SCC not to sanction two Republicans means they are exceptional party members among others and an exception to the party rules.

  4. We have a two party system in Alaska. The evil party and the stupid party. Republicans are the stupid party.

    I am not hopeful about the future of my beloved State.

  5. It’s very difficult to know what the ARP stands for. The Platform apparently means very little so why spend all the time putting it together? The objective of the ARP “power brokers” seems to be to keep the little minions busy with putting a platform together while they actually pull the strings. Many of those in the Legislature should have an “I” after their names to indicate the invertebrate party (no backbone).

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