Republicans to challenge Elections Division decision



The executive committee of the Alaska Republican Party has unanimously authorized chairman Tuckerman Babcock to protect the Republican primary and move forward with a lawsuit, or injunction against the Division of Elections, if necessary.

The meeting was called Monday after the party had notified the Division that three incumbent Republicans were no longer qualified to run in the party’s primary in August. The Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke disagreed, and said unless the court orders her, she will allow any declared Republican to be on the Republican ballot.

Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton, and Louise Stutes had been the subject of a series of increasingly specific sanctions from the Republican Party due to their direct involvement in turning over the power of the House of Representatives to Democrats and indie-Democrats, even though a majority of Republicans had been elected in 2016.

Reps. Paul Seaton, Gabrielle LeDoux, and Louise Stutes.

After the three defected from their party to flip the control of the House, their district Republicans voted to sanction them, and those sanctions then went to the State Central Committee, which voted to withdraw all support for their candidacy. The committee later voted to deny them access to the Republican primary ballot.

But Bahnke has denied Republicans the power to control their primary ballot, although a Supreme Court decision upheld Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg’s decision to allow Democrats to control their ballots by allowing non-aligned candidates to run in their primary.

Josie Bahnke, Director, Division of Elections

Bahnke ruled that allowing candidates to run is a different matter than disallowing candidates to be on a party’s ballot. She wants another court ruling before she can allow Republicans that authority. Apparently, Bahnke has concluded that ballot control applies mainly to Democrats.

Republicans in Alaska have a closed Republican Party primary ballot, unlike the Democrats, which allow anyone to vote on their primary ballot.

ARP Chairman Babcock said the unanimous decision of the executive committee authorizes “any and all appropriate action by the chair to enforce our rules with respect to the integrity of our primary election.  The authorization includes the filing of an injunction or a lawsuit to compel the state to follow the constitution.  We recommend the chair proceed with all due speed.  Legal expenditures by the ARP may not exceed those available in the ARP Legal Trust Fund.”

The executive committee then voted to approve a special committee to study an alternative to a state-run primary: Nomination by convention. That is the method parties use at the national level to nominate Republican candidates for president, and other states use the convention method to determine their candidates for state office: Connecticut, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah, for example.

A nomination by convention would necessitate the party paying for it itself, rather than participate in the state’s primary election on Aug. 21.

[Read: Republicans assert rule: No LeDoux, Seaton, Stutes allowed in primary]


  1. I’d rather have the nomination by convention rather than have liars on the republican ballot.

  2. Le Doux, Seaton, and Stutes can run in the Democratic primary, why would they want to run in the Republican primary anyways?

    Why do Democrats believe in the right to allow anyone to run in a primary, as long as it is in their favor?
    Why do Democrats believe in the right to free speech, as long as it is in their favor?
    Why do Democrats believe in the right to freedom of association, as long as it is in their favor?
    Why don’t Democrats believe we are all equal under the law?

  3. Wow, talk about twisted reasoning by Ms Bahnke. It is bureaucrats like her that frustrate the public and cause us to distrust our government. Is our government really working for us or against us?

  4. The Party is taking the right course of action here, especially in this critical election year. If Alaskans don’t take back the Governor’s office this year – win this election – not only will Byron Mallott continue to run elections but Bruce Botelho will run the upcoming redistricting! Never has there been a gubernatorial election more important to Alaskans.

    Clearly the path Alaska is on is the wrong one; dramatically increasing Medicaid and SNAP enrollment, increasing unemployment, record crime, record criminal violence, record STDs; the numbers are manifold and all terrible. But even forgetting that for a moment, this 2018 election will largely determine the direction of the Alaska economy for the 21st Century.

    Not as important, but still extremely important is getting rid of this ridiculous and dishonest House leadership. Spending record amounts of time in Juneau to force an income tax down our throats when we have the lowest adult workforce participation in the US, the highest unemployment in the US, the lowest manufacturing and agricultural output, etc., and at the same time spending $500,000 on Vitamin D research and $4 million on Public Broadcasting is beyond tragic, and it surpasses stupidity.

    Our crisis is one of leadership. If we fail to fix it this year many working Alaska families will exchange their candidate yard signs for For Sale signs.

  5. Its like we have become a banana republic. Democrats running as Republicans and after the election switching parties to change an election outcome. These turn coats should be run out of Alaska along with their leader walker!

  6. Hmm, interesting…state “leaders” of the party of freedom, independence, individual initiative and all that, are suing to prevent their fellow Republicans from voting to select candidates to run on the party ticket. Could it be that those they are trying to exclude are actually more acceptable to mainstream Republican voters than the extremist candidates that the party bosses favor? Ironically, this attempt to control candidacies is taken straight from the reported playbook of communist systems, where party functionaries dictate who the party’s candidates are. Shouldn’t the voters get to choose who represents the ticket rather than the party commissars?

  7. Not sure the Republicans should go to a convention to nominate their primary candidate winners. What if many non-Rs reregister as Rs and then attend the convention and vote in the convention “primary”? That is what kinda happens in an open primary–Ds cross over and vote for the weakest R candidate. Check out the latest Alabama Senate race for that fact.

  8. Maybe I’m missing something here, but if the Republicans have a closed primary (only registered Republicans voting) and can put up quality opposition candidates in those three districts, won’t this problem resolve itself when the three phony Republicans loose in the primary? Under what scenario would they make it out of the primary if registered Republicans are choosing their candidate, especially in light of their actions in Juneau? I’m as unhappy as as anyone else about their actions, but won’t the election process solve that?

  9. Let’s waste more money snd court time. What a tragedy. If these three are that bad the people won’t vote for them anyway so what is the Republican party worried about? Put them on and let’s see where they go.

  10. It is appropriate for the RPA to litigate this matter but they, and no one else should expect the Courts to do them any favors. The Court system judges disagree with one another all the time: Some believe Hillary should rule the country; others are convinced it must be Bernie Saunders. And a few still hold out for the second coming of Hugo Chavez.

    Defeat the turncoats at the ballot box.

  11. I hate to rain on the parade of all the johnny come lately fiscal conservatives, spewing your phony outrage, but by not having these three in the primary it will save money. If going to court is what is required to show that we are all equal under the law then so be it, it’s unfortunate that Democrats can’t and won’t accept that simple fact.

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