Senate Democrat-dominated majority announces formation, and Sen. Stevens, incoming Senate president, says he doubts they’ll overturn ranked choice voting

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The Senate Democrat majority announced its formation today as a result of decisions of eight Republicans who allowed nine Democrats to dominate the majority, rather than forming a majority of 11 Republicans. Some 65% of Alaska voters chose Republicans during the most recent election, but the Senate majority has now been handed to a Democrat majority.

The majority has 17 members, which the presumed Senate President Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, called “a healthy majority.”

The Majority’s membership includes Senator Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks), Senator-elect Jesse Bjorkman (R-Nikiski), Senator-elect Matt Claman (D-Anchorage), Senator-elect Forrest Dunbar (D-Anchorage), Senator-elect Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage), Senator Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), Senator-elect James Kaufman (R-Anchorage), Senator Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), Senator Jesse Kiehl(D-Juneau), Senator-elect Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River), Senator Donny Olson (D-Golovin), Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka), Senator Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), Senator-elect Löki Tobin (D-Anchorage), Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), and Senator David Wilson (R-Wasilla). 

Wielechowski will be Senate Rules Chair, Giessel will be Senate Majority Leader, Bishop will be Majority Whip, and Gray-Jackson will be Legislative Council Chair.

All but three people in the Senate are included in the caucus. The three excluded from the caucus are all Republicans — two from the Valley and one from Fairbanks: Sen. Shelley Hughes, Sen. Mike Shower, and Sen. Robb Myers.

There will be and unusual aspect in the Senate Finance Committee this year: Three co-chairs, including Sen. Stedman for operating budget, Sen. Hoffman for the capital budget, and Sen. Olson, who will will handle bills coming through committee.

It appears to be a binding caucus with all members expected to vote in favor of the budget when it comes to the floor, Sen. Stevens said.

There was no commitment on the Permanent Fund dividend, and Stevens indicated there is not agreement on that item. Sen.-elect Cathy Giessel said that education needs more funding than it has now and “all of that has to be weighed out.” This is an indication that the budget will balloon for education at the expense of dividends.

Giessel said that “all members of this caucus are responding to what we heard from Alaskans. We heard door to door and in elections that Alaskans are looking for people in Legislature who will work together to get things done, to get important things done.”

When asked why they favored joining the Democrats for a majority rather than plan offered by the three excluded Republicans, Stevens said it was a recognition of “the reality of the last four years, we have not been able to give several of our senators support on budget. We had to go around them and get the budget passed.”

As for whether the Senate would overturn ranked choice voting, Sen. Stevens said he was “loathe to overturn it,” since it was the will of the people and has “led to more moderation in the Senate.”

Giessel agreed, said that 92% of the people had been instructed on how to use the people, and 60% of the people said they felt that the races were more competitive with ranked choice voting.

Meanwhile, the Senate minority announced its three members: The new Republican Senate Minority consists of the current Senate Majority Leader, Senator Shelley Hughes; the current State Affairs Chair, Senator Mike Shower; and the current Transportation Chair, Senator Robb Myers. It is one of the smallest minorities in Alaska Senate history.

“The new Minority looks forward to and is proud to stand with the overwhelming majority of voters across Alaska who demonstrated on their ballots their desire for the Senate to take a right-of-center pathway,” the three wrote in a press release this afternoon.

The three senators in the new Minority had previously proposed to all of their Republican colleagues a pathway for what would be a functional and successful majority to respect the 65% of Alaskan voters who had voted for Republicans to represent them in the State Senate.

“The proposal included a clear route to passing a responsible budget without draconian cuts along with policy priority options that were positive for Alaska and around which caucus members could coalesce. The inclusion of several Democrats was also part of this proposal,” the press release said.

Sen. Shelley Hughes began discussions over the summer with the now Republican members of the Majority about policy priorities as a unifying bond. In the days following the Nov. 8 election, on behalf of the now Republican Senate Minority, Hughes reached out by phone, text, and email to her Republican colleagues to offer a solution to ensure a Republican majority would meet its constitutional duty to pass a budget. This approach was offered as an ethical alternative to the “binding caucus rule” adopted by the bipartisan coalition.

With a binding caucus rule, before the session begins, members pledge to vote yes on the budget sight unseen; if a member fails to vote for the budget, punishment in the past has included the loss of chairmanships, committee assignments, staff, staff pay, district resources, and office space.

“Unfortunately, in response to the reasonable proposal offered, only one Republican colleague (who is now a member of the Democrat-weighted Majority) contacted Hughes at the last minute to convey they were not interested in the proposal nor willing to come to the table to dialogue,” the press release stated.

“It’s very disconcerting that my fellow Republicans in the Senate were not even willing to have a conversation about joining together for the betterment of Alaska, but more troubling than that is my colleagues defied the voters and have let Alaskans down. When 65% of Alaskans send a majority of Republicans to represent them in the Senate in Juneau, they are voting for a right-of-center Majority. Alaskans are concerned about high inflation, gas, and energy prices; Biden’s anti-resource development policies which are harmful to our state; and leftist policies that hurt families and children. Alaskans’ votes for state Senate clearly indicated Alaskans preferred policies based on conservative principles that will open up new opportunities and promote a strong economy, strong communities, and strong families. Despite being in the Minority, I want my district and Alaskans to know I will aim for these goals in the Senate in my work on Alaskans’ behalf to the best of my ability, as well as in my work with the House and with our governor,” Hughes said.

Following the Senate Majority’s announcement, Senator Robb Myers of Fairbanks and North Pole said, “I had hoped to join a majority focused on fixing our long-standing fiscal problems and moving the state forward. Unfortunately, the new coalition is bound by terms counterproductive to what I ran on and seems to be focused on maintaining the status quo. Nonetheless, I am focused on being as productive as possible for my district and the state under the new arrangement.”

Sen. Mike Shower said, “It’s disappointing a majority of Republicans rejected discussing the formation of a Republican controlled Senate among the 11 of us. We presented a common-sense path forward: 1.) separate the PFD into its own bill to prevent legislators from having to commit political self-destruction voting against it year after year and 2.) agree to some version of a spending cap limit to ensure controlled growth of the operating budget. We made two basic requests to ensure Republican senators were not put in untenable positions on hot button issues in their very diverse districts. Instead, our colleagues appear willing to throw away a clear Republican majority for a Democrat-dominated Senate: 9 Democrats joining 8 Republicans. Their arrangement is hard to justify considering roughly two-thirds of first place votes in the Senate races went to Republicans.”

Shower said he would continue to work with the Republican governor and Republican- dominated House to advance important priorities for Alaska.

“I will continue to do so wherever possible within the Senate with anyone willing to advance smart policy like the bipartisan fiscal working group’s recommendations presented last year. I will work on the repeal of ranked choice voting, continue election and judicial reform efforts, and will never give up on a balanced budget comprehensive fiscal plan Alaska desperately needs. There are many ways to solve problems. I’ll do whatever I can and whatever we must do to move Alaska forward,” he said.

Hughes wrapped up remarks for the group: “We want Alaskans to know that our Minority organization may be small, but we will be mighty. We understand that voters have been betrayed and a very substantial majority of you cast your votes against watered-down principles, left-leaning policies and for a right-of-center majority. We will stand up and fight for Alaskans every chance we get. We will also work to find consensus with the Bipartisan Coalition wherever and whenever we can to advance items that will lead to a better future for Alaska. In the end, we will be true to Alaskans and to our districts.”

185 COMMENTS

  1. So, RCV will be overturned and fully repealed by voters by Initiative, now that the voters know how phoney the scheme. Voters will clean up the cesspool themselves.

    • I don’t know about that. It was close for the first initiative. An initiative to repeal RCV might be difficult to pass now that voters have got a sense of power electing Peltola and Murkowski. I’m guessing a repeal initiative may fail by the same margin as their wins. Might be time to learn how to win using RCV. I recommend better candidates. The governor won easily. Maybe he can run for senator in the future. Are there any other strong candidates out there?

      • “It was close for the first initiative.”
        No it wasn’t. No on BM 2 was winning by a good percentage, right up until the last day or so of vote counting.

        • I stand corrected. Ballot Measure 2 was not close. It passed by the overwhelming majority of 50.5%. I still think an initiative to repeal RCV will fail by a larger margin. Now is a good time to strategize.

          • .5%. Yeah, that’s a big win. I’m being sarcastic. And how many of those votes were bought by outside $$$$? RCV sucks big time. It should be ONE voter!! One vote!!! NOT FOUR VOTES!!! OR THREE!!! OR TWO!!! ONE FRICKING VOTE per voter. No more. Period.

          • Sorry, but RCV *does* give you just one vote per person. It’s not exactly the same as having a series of runoff votes in which one candidate gets eliminated per round, but in this way it is. On each round, you get one vote. Would you consider multiple rounds of runoff elections to give people more than one vote? In this, RCV is no different. Your vote is for your favorite candidate on each round, until and unless that candidate is eliminated. From then on, your vote is for your second choice, and so on. You only get one vote per simulated round of runoff elections. Your second and third and lower choices don’t count at all unless your first choice gets knocked out.

      • RCV was voted in because the proponents purposefully confused the public and misrepresented the issue.

        Another addendum, it was strongly supported by urban Democrat organizations, and for all their other faults, Alaska Democrats do walk in lockstep.

        So will this current dysfunctional legislature do anything about it? Nope.

        The Democrats know which side their bread is buttered on, and some of these GOP reps have all the brains of a box of gravel.

    • Are you kidding me? Did you miss the election?

      There will be no referendum. There will be no action and most importantly, there will be no consequences for liars and frauds. The Senate will do as it pleases and the voters will send the same fraudsters back.

      THIS IS ALASKA.

    • The AK supreme court will surely find a way to kill any such voter initiative, if it even passes.

      And Also, Stevens is my senator. Won’t be voting for him again.

    • Hahahahahaha!
      Sorry, but the idea of overcoming ballot harvesting in Anchorage is laughable.
      This state is doomed. RINOs across the state showed their true colors and the Tucker watching crowd listened to Mike P for voting instructions.

    • Absolutely no chance RCV is ended. A majority of voters like being able to choose the candidates of their choice without interference of political parties. Extreme partisans hate this, as their power to take over local parties and control primary election outcomes is officially over. And the overwhelming majority of voters understand the concept of an instant runoff, and like saving time and money at the same time.

      • Can’t say I agree with you on that one but you do a great job of parroting the line while ignoring the reality on the ground.

        The most detrimental effect of RCV is that in Alaska it allows special interests to focus all of their resources to the largest population hubs.

        So interests leaning left or right, focusing on Alaska or Outside, just have to direct their efforts to Anchorage, Juneau, Mat-Su, and Fairbanks. It’s always been somewhat like that, but it’s writ large now.

        So now, those areas with the greatest concentrations of entitlement dependency (government employment and other types of welfare) also have a disproportionate influence on the rest of the state.

        This is essentially soft walking “tyranny of the mob” into the state.

    • but, but, but …..Sarah Palin was the first person to sign the “Repeal RCV Initiative.”
      Now that Jerry Ward is out of a job again, he can help Sarah hit the streets for signatures.

      • Sorry Kemosabee. Palin is checking-out of Alaska with her multi-millionaire hockey boyfriend. Jerry Ward wouldn’t know how to get anyone to sign anything. Only the out of work union members know how to collect signatures in front of grocery stores. They are given orders by their union bosses and they do it, or they don’t work in the union again. And Bill Walker was least seen crying on a beach in Hawaii. So Alaska elections are now SNAFU.

    • I’m pretty sure the voters’ intent with electing a majority of Republicans to the Senate was not for them to expunge the conservatives from their midst and join a Democrat majority. But that’s what we got.

    • Conservatives were extinct long before this. This act of imperial control has been coming for a long time.

      Thanks Bill Walker and Mike Porcaro for ushering it in.

    • “……This is an extinction level event for conservatives.”
      Committed by eight RINOs who campaigned as conservatives. Hopefully the carcasses of conservatives emit a political virus that proves fatal to such vermin.

    • Close – it’s an extinction level event to the radical and toxic flamethrowers that are impersonating conservatives. Voters want action, not self righteous rant’s from a tiny minority.

      • The true conservatives had to team up with liberals and independents to overcome constant obstruction by the radical pseudo conservatives. It wasn’t their first choice, but the ridiculous antics of the last two years left them no choice.

  2. Of course they won’t overturn RCV. There goes your dividend for an education fiasco that produces the worst results in the country, no matter how much money is thrown. What a band of traitors the Republicans have turned out to be.

  3. It is interesting Sen Stevens mentions those of us who voted no on the budget. The budget has not been the primary issue – but the PFD. We have asked in the past and had agreements for it to be separated (but not honored). If the PFD was excluded and kept separate some of us might have very well voted yes on the budget, I have said that publicly many times. What’s also not mentioned is leadership in the past has continued to include the PFD in the budget knowing full well it is political suicide for certain senators to vote against it. Yet they did it anyway – what does that tell you? I’ve never asked a senator to vote yes or no on anything which might harm them politically – yet they’ve done that to some of us consistently. That is the binding caucus and it’s back with a vengeance. Notice, importantly, they still do not have agreement within their binding caucus about the PFD – highlighting the truth of what I’m saying. These republicans have joined with democrats without promising or getting any agreement on the PFD – and rejected their 3 republican colleagues who had the same issue and offered a concrete path forward which would have worked. Going to be interesting watching those republicans who are up for re-election in 2 years in more conservative districts explain how they handed power to democrats – and far left ones at that – when they did not have to and knew there was a viable path forward. 3 senate presidents in a row now who didn’t get re-elected after their term since the PFD debacle started. The binding caucus and the PFD have been the death knell on a number of political careers in Alaska lately. I’ll have a front row seat in our little minority!!

    • I’m sure looking forward to seeing Gary Stevens become the fourth senate president in a row to not get re-elected. He’s been in Juneau way too long.

    • No one would blame you if you hung it up and spent the time with your family.

      We’re broken. You did what you could.

    • Well said Senator Shower. Senators Stevens, Stedman, Wilson and Bishop have clearly said they would rather form a coalition with Jesse Kiehl than with you! This Majority will soon begin secretly talking about how to roll the Governor in order to return to defined benefit for PERS and TRS (start talking only about Public Safety and firefighters, then when Stedman is on board they do a Biden-Bernie switcheroo and add all state employees, teachers, etc. would be my expectation of their strategy), a state income tax (perhaps to not become effective until oil drops to some benchmark such as $70, would be one political strategy to give “Republicans” cover). With this Majority every dollar drop in the price of oil comes out of the PFD, and the budget they write will be based on an unrealistically high price as cover for a lower PFD. Almost every member of this new Majority would favor a high PFD amount only if it could be income-dependent. Don’t expect this Majority to help the Governor in any effort to push back against Biden on the North Slope, on guns, on land rights, or on natural resources. Biden said only yesterday that allowing people to own semi-automatics is “crazy.”

    • Glad you are my Senator and that I had a chance, for the first time, to vote for you. Thank you for your work.

    • Mike, this isn’t the first time Republican majorities caucus with Democrats and hand the gavel over to them. There is a history of this. You can go back to the mid 80’s and see the same thing. Let’s face it, Republicans don’t know how to wield power because they’re afraid of Democrats and the Press. Only a few like you truly know how to grab the bull by the horns. Unfortunately, there are no more bulls. They’ve all been castrated by LGBTQ. The Legislature wants to make you a relic. But we at MRAK are with you.

    • Mr. Shower’s our problem is how short sighted Alaskans voters are. Whoever ran the other Republicans running again these rinos did a horrible job reminding the voters what Geissel, Merrick and Wilson done in the past. Governor Dunleavy has to be sitting at home shaking his head going thanks alaska for sending me this to Juneau..

    • The PFD isn’t related to the budget? That, sir, is why you’ll be in the minority. Just because your constituents don’t want to hear it doesn’t make it so.

  4. Senator Giessel, just how much is enough to fund a failing K12 system? How much per student? Do you know that the Anchorage SD spends $19,727 per student the last school year per the audited ACFR? You are pandering to the teachers unions and all the other government unions. Wake up! I know you hate the PFD and consider it welfare. Good on you. Apparently, you believe the government union employees deserve more than other Alaskans. Thanks for nothing.

    • Conflating government, unions and education does not work well with voters when oil companies are making record profits and the BSA has eroded 15% dues to inflation since 2017

    • How did Giessel get in power again? Voters have no clue and don’t care what politicians do they just keep electing these bad apples. No wonder the money tree is Dying. Taxes are on the way.

    • The payoff to Alaska’s failing education industry will be whatever the Peoples Binding Caucus says it will be… or more if the industry’s union-management team want more.
      .
      Seems reasonable to expect those who buy elections and lobbyists (who, by the way, outnumber legislators seven to one) now want what they bought.
      .
      What could they want? More redistribution of wealth for personal gain and payoffs, more economic and political power to subjugate people while preserving their illusion of freedom and republicanism, more job security through corrupted elections for officials who deliver these must-haves?
      .
      So, we believe, the PBC was magically created to assure buyers get what they bought.
      .
      And the PBC will fulfill this promise by forcing income, sales, school taxes on productive Alaskans; to preserve the easily corruptible ranked-choice voting which got the PBC “elected”; and to lay the groundwork for the ultimate giveaways, China Bill Walker’s LNG pipeline and the Permanent Fund.
      .
      No? Who’ll stop them? Angry voters and their corrupted election system?
      .
      Would this scenario explain why Hughes, Shower, and Myers aren’t allowed to play with the PBC because somebody would have to watch them, keep them from messing up carefully crafted plans, blowing the whistle on criminal corruption, stuff like that?
      .
      One can be sure, David, that Peoples Imperial State Senator Giessel is wide awake on the subjects of power consolidation and wealth redistribution.
      .
      Sadly, just as ranked-choice voting is the ultimate corruption of what was a free and fair election system with some accountability, the Peoples Binding Caucus seems to be the ultimate corruption of what was a reasonably free and fair legislative system.
      .
      Bottom line is a coup just happened. A syndicate, propagandized for popular appeal as a “a healthy majority”, seized power, confident that voters can do nothing to stop them.
      .
      Time to dust off “Rules for Radicals”, figure out how to destabilize this mob, chum the political waters, get them to eat each other so they don’t have so much time to rob and pillage voters.

  5. How much did the commies pay them??? Something really doesn’t smell right (or left… out). I’m pissed off enough to run… but my Senator and Representative are both in the conservative minority and I don’t want to run against them. Thank you, Shelley Hughes, Mike Shower, and Rob Myers.

    • “How much did the commies pay them???……..”
      @ $2.4 billion, or half of the total 2022 PFD disbursement, for them to divvy out to their favorite leeches.

  6. Hughes, Myers, and Shower–the HMS Group! They’ll be permitted to make noise, but they will be politely gaveled down, and the senate will move on! But, then again, things may turn ugly quickly–that’s the nature of politics!

  7. George Carlin: “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.” Hold onto your wallets as long as you can, especially the elderly on fixed incomes.

      • Yep, and one of the major players in that scheme, several years ago (Paul Ryan – Republican), is considering running for President.

        Consider watching a video of George Carlin’s “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.” It’s full of F-bombs and nasty language, but it still conveys the message.

      • Furthermore, any Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, who puts forth a proposal to tax me out of my home of 42 years to pay a PFD to the feedbags who moved to Alaska to get this “dividend” is not representing me as a long term Alaskan (62 years since I moved here with a military family) who worked all my life for financial security. Take care, Maureen. I respect your views. None of these legislators are representing my values either.

    • Really? Unanimous votes, no debates, rubber stamping the will of the dictator? (In this example, is Dunleavy the dictator, or some other boogeyman?). Uninformed hyperbole does not constitute intelligent discourse.

  8. How appropriate. the lineup order reflects alaska- how alaskans serve multiple idols and gods. Isn’t that what sen. Geissal constituents
    means telling her wanting leaders working together-they want the incoming
    senate reflect the peoples self-centered self-righterous values.

  9. The 17 member big government majority. Get ready for even bigger record breaking budgets. Get ready for a small or nonexistent PFD. Get ready for taxes on any and everything. Big government needs to be fed and the producers are the only ones who can provide.

    • Yes Steve O you are right on and I hope we get taxed to the hilt. Like I have stated the sooner we go bankrupt the more these voters will squeal. I want to see them when the state is taking more of their money. Then maybe we can start over with good people running this state instead of the clown show.

      • “…….I hope we get taxed to the hilt. Like I have stated the sooner we go bankrupt the more these voters will squeal…….”
        Yup. Burn the money, and these parasites will disappear on the next flight south. Alaska was a much better place before that stinking oil money lured these scavengers up here.

  10. It should now be plain as day to the informed voters that Rank Choice Voting is the new tool to guarantee Selections. The fact that our limp wristed Republicans in Juneau continue to take the back seat is the same thing we see in our Washington DC grifters. If we ever want to get control to turn Selections to Elections in Alaska, we need to get the initiative to get rid of Rank Choice Voting now ! If we don’t, I fear we will soon see the disastrous results of our Rank Choice Selections.

  11. Lord this state cant get any worse with the way people vote. People that voted for this crew of idiots, will go golly gees why didn’t we get a full PFD?? Also sounds like Geisel wants to bail out ASD from their 68 million dollar boondoggle. Also not surprised the democrats don’t want to overturn RCV.

  12. It is worth noting, and might be disconcerting to the aging Senator from Kodiak, that through the initiative process a majority of Alaskan voters can completely repeal RCV and place it inside the Senator’s body where it cannot be seen.

  13. Well, if only 3 of the 11 republicans in the Alaska senate are republican, the Alaska Republican Party needs to be completely destroyed and rebuilt.

    • Sure does. Steven is a do nothing that has co-opted the R name and is waaay out there in left field–except for, to an extent, abortion. What was comical, was all the lefties that had Stevens signs in their yard–how fast they whipped those out of the ground when they found he was pro-life. Everything else, he is just a money (our money) grabbing leftist.

    • That’s pretty much what just happened. The party was taken over by religious fringe (ABT) decades ago, and used closed primaries and back room deals to ensure only their chosen candidates made it to the general election. If they’d promoted even slightly less radical candidates, Rs would have a super majority in both houses and an R US representative.

      • So, in other words, RV, state Republicans would be where the Democrats are today, if only they had behaved and ruled like Democrats?
        .
        You truly are one of the most maliciously disingenuous trolls in this forum.

  14. It’s clear that it will be up to voters to clean up the RCV imposed scheme to push Lisa over the finish line. She has not been able to win an election with more than 50% in a long time. Interesting that people like senators Stevens and Giessel proclaim RCV as being an instrument to elect legislators who will produce equitable results. Sure.

    Our newly elected senator in District D has decided to reject forming a Republican majority as it was assumed by his voters. Instead, he will caucus with democrats and other ‘enlightened’ Republicans to form a hybrid ruling majority. It is certain he will be making future similar misguided decisions. Fortunately his term is a two year term so he will have to explain himself to his voters sooner rather than later. By then the people will have spoken in ridding Alaska from the ‘keep Lisa employed’ ballot measure. Republicans, as a party, meanwhile, will need to figure out what being a Republican means and whether voting for them is a fools errand.

  15. Wasilla’s DAVID WILSON, newest member to the TRAITORS SQUAD. He didn’t waste anytime Stabbing us in the Back in his Newly Elected 4 year term. He told me he was “All for a full PFD, and wouldn’t waver.” Guess a Binding Caucus on an Unwritten Budget will DESTROY that Campaign Promise. Liars and Thieves will Burn In Hell.

    • Steven’s is a traitor, a RINO.
      These establishment Republicans are a bigger enemy than democrats – because they campaign one way, to get votes, then govern another way to appeal to the establishment / deep state. Despicable.
      We need outsiders, disrupter types – their personality and private life be damned.
      Trump, Joe Miller, and yes Sarah Palin.
      My grandfather said there were 2 things in the middle of the road – yellow stripes and dead skunks.
      Wake up “establishment” conservatives – you are leading us to our ruination.

  16. Just stop and think about this. Eight Republican senators just voted to join a Democrat majority coalition.

    Eight Republican senators just signaled that they are more comfortable joining forces with Forrest Dunbar and the Anchorage voters he represents than they are joining forces with the three Republican senators from more conservative parts of the state.

    In other states, the Republican Party would take upon itself the solemn duty to help voters have the last word on this. But don’t expect that to happen in this state. In this state, if you are a conservative candidate you often need to run AGAINST the Republican Party as well as your opponent.

    Of the eight Republicans who just defected, the Alaska Republican Party supported most of them against their more conservative REPUBLICAN opponents!

    Over the past year, Sen. David Wilson received $4,000 from the Alaska Republican Party to help him defeat his two REPUBLICAN opponents.

    Earlier this year, Sen. Gary Stevens received $3,800 from the Alaska Republican Party to help him defeat his two REPUBLICAN opponents.

    Earlier this year, Sen. Bert Stedman received $2,000 from the Alaska Republican Party to help him defeat his REPUBLICAN opponent.

    Earlier this year, Sen-elect Kelly Merrick received $1,000 from the Alaska Republican Party to help her defeat her REPUBLICAN opponent.

    Over the passed year, Sen. Click Bishop received $3,900 from the Alaska Republican Party primarily to help him defeat his REPUBLICAN opponent Elijah Verhagen (Note: AIP Candidate Bert Williams also ran in this race and received 15.55% of votes).

    Note: The Alaska Republican Party also gave $1,000 to Mike Showers’ opponent Doug Massie at the same time it gave $1,000 to Showers.

    The above numbers do not include the $2,250 given to Sen.-elect James Kaufman by the Republican Party. Only in his case did the party have the excuse that he was actually running against a Democrat opponent.

    Sen. Mia Costello lost to her Democrat opponent by 615 votes.

    I imagine the $15,700 that the ARP gave to Massie and to the turncoat Republicans to help them beat their REPUBLICAN opponents could have made an impact on that race.

    Instead, it was spent helping to support the very candidates that would ensure that Democrats wield power in the Alaska Senate for at least the next two years. Which side is the Alaska Republican Party on anyway?

    • The voters want fiscal responsibility, the Alaska Republican Party is destroying itself fighting the State Constitution over privacy and the PFD.

      • What does ‘privacy’ have to do with mass murdering innocent human fetuses? Oh, yeah, I suppose all murderers want to kill in privacy……….

      • “The voters want fiscal responsibility” unfortunately the voters keep electing people who do not believe that.

      • Privacy to protect WHO is the question Tank, I mean Frank. Is the PFD tied up with the obsession of privacy there Frank? Yawn.

    • Considering your hypocritical track record, your outrage and objections are hollow.

      You are every bit as bad as the people you criticize.

      Don’t you have some camera to grandstand in front of?

    • Clearly the Alaska Republican Party has been outsmarted. Party leadership thought the enemy was Lisa Murkowski and Joe Biden, but meanwhile the Alaska Republican Party should have tended to business much closer to home!

      • “Let’s start a new party…….”
        That’s coming, but it’s a few years out. Review the death of the Whigs. We’re well on our way……….

    • Let me fix this for you. 17 legislators just said that 3 of their colleagues are so toxic that they’re impossible to work with. 8 Rs said that, although they agree with the other 3 Rs on most issues, they’re tired of those 3 Rs sabotaging whatever work doesn’t strictly conform with their radical positions.

      You’re lucky to be in government work; any private sector employer would have fired you long ago for alienating coworkers and compromising productivity.

      • There you go again, RV, maliciously and falsely confusing “principled” and “small government seeking” with “toxic”. The fact that you (along with other radical leftist extremists) find the concept of limited government and liberty “toxic” says a lot about you, and none of it is good.
        .
        And just for the record, I find you to be one the worst and most duplicitous trolls in this forum.

        • The Rs you are trashing are in favor of small government, fiscal responsibility, and individual choice. You reject them because they don’t fully accept the rest of your world view. You are upset because, statewide, voters rejected candidates that shared your world view.

          Your definition of conservative is so narrow that it is anathema to a large percentage of voters that would prefer to vote for a conservative, but are not willing to accept the rigid adherence to a set of unrelated issues they can’t accept.

          You accuse me of being duplicitous only because I disagree on some issues, while ignoring the fact that we agree on more. Demonizing me for not being like you is exactly thee we same behavior that banished these three “conservatives “ to their current tiny minority.

          • RV, you know absolutely nothing about my “world view”, and the fact that you presume to do so, again, says a lot about you, and none of it is good.
            .
            And your definition of ‘conservative’ is apparently so broad that it includes diehard radical leftist extremists such as Forrest Dunbar and Zach Fields, not to mention the many surrender-monkey RINOs who, despite being in a nominal majority, are more than willing to surrender that majority, rather than work with their more principled and more committedly small-government partisan brethren.

      • “……although they agree with the other 3 Rs on most issues…..”
        Why don’t you just spit it out? Follow the money: this is all about the PFD, and who is going to spend that money.
        Watch the governor and his veto pen. You aren’t home yet………..

        • Dunleavy will fold harder and faster than he did in Wasilla.

          Giessel the the Democrats will have him in the political equivalent of being ball gaged, bent over a chair, and spanked while saying “thank you mommy”.

          He may be a good man, but his cowardly Lion act oversaw the collapse of our economy and quasi two party system.

      • Two of those three represent Mat-Su. Last I checked, Mat-Su has a thriving private sector, unlike Anchorage and Juneau.

    • Thanks for being a voice in this wilderness.
      Basically, Alaska is like the rest of the nation… Ignorant voters and a Republican Party that hates conservatives more than the Democrats do.

      Suzanne, is this the same Republican Party that almost universally backed Begich who had absolutely no proof from past actions or statements that he was actually a conservative?

      • The RINO’s value style over substance. Think of all the Begich voters that voted for Murkowski, because they listened and followed the MSM narrative about Kelly.
        The same republican “types” that hate Trump – hated Sarah and Kelly.
        But Begich shoots guns in his campaign ads so he must be a reeaaal conservative.
        Can’t even make this excrement up.

    • Mr. Eastman always enjoy your comments! I suspected Dave Wilson was emboldened by redistricting. If he was still in our district he would’ve been voted out. People forget how Dave Wilson abandoned his colleagues in Wasilla few yrs ago and flew back to Juneau to hang out the anti dunleavy crowd of Geissel and crew.

    • Thank you heartily for that info. It’s almost to the place now, where a conservative candidate needs to think about invading the dem party and running a subterfuge there. Can’t be much worse than being a ‘Republican’ in this state now. Might actually be the magic pathway…

    • Representative Eastman,

      You must be proud of your workmanship, all these years and not only have you made the house toxic, you’ve now somehow spread your leftist dysfunction into the senate.

  17. I consider Alaska to be a Corporate Socialist State. The Socialist side is the State Owns All The Resources, 94% of the Land, has 25% of the Workforce Employed by It. The Corporate side is the Permanent Fund DIVIDEND CHECK we receive as SHAREHOLDERS in this State. We Are All Shareholders. We are All Equal in this.. There is no Discrimination with regard to Age, Race,Religion Rural, Urban, Political persuasion. It is Something WE all share Equally, with the FREEDOM to spend it as we see fit. Each year that the Legislature SHORTS OUR DIVIDEND CHECK, we become LESS of a Shareholder and more like a SERF.. It strips us of our pride of being an Alaskan Shareholder. It drives a wedge between the groups mentioned above, as the Legislature DECIDES WHO IS MORE IMPORTANT. It is NOT Free Money, it is OUR MONEY.. When this Legislature adjourns will you feel like a SHAREHOLDER or a SERF.

      • “The PFD as coming from the government is Welfare…….”
        It’s a social transfer payment, and its continuance is often argued as a necessary welfare payment for the Bush, but since all residents qualify for it and there is no income disqualification, it can’t be welfare.
        I think it’s best described as a social experiment, and as such, it will end up proving that socialism is a failure. For an example of how to deal with oil wealth for a small state population, look at Norway. Alaska’s problem were all the parasites who flooded up here after that money.

          • Maureen, I want to clear up something for you. The P-Fund was the creation of an Old School Democrat, named Oral Freeman. It’s stated purpose was to “limit government” by removing 25% of the vast oil wealth from being spent by the greedy special interest or parasitical groups that are attracted towards Government. The sums were to be for the “PEOPLE”. Now after four decades we see that the perverse courts have found a way to reverse the will of the people.
            There is the whole issue in a thumbnail sketch. Enjoy!

          • “The Alaska Permanent Fund was created by the people of Alaska in 1976 as a way to save a portion of the state’s oil revenues for the needs of future …” Bobby.
            No limit of government at all, either. Without that PF, no doubt it would have been spent but might not have been “for the ‘PEOPLE.'”

  18. We voted these morons in. Buckle up, Alaska, this is gonna be ugly.

    And never, ever, forget it’s the Republicans who did this.

    I won’t be surprised by a $500 PFD (if that) and an income tax with this cast or idiots. Kiss any hope of removing RCV goodbye.

    This is what happens when
    -less than 1/2 of the state votes
    -Conservatives sit on their butts
    -the population refuses to act in their own interests out of fear.

    So many of you were scared of what might come from a constitutional convention. By voting it down you set this chain of events in motion. This legislature knows they have zero to fear from you. You’re happy to be paypigs to slaughter.

    • The constituency they serve is only themselves in their fascist, insular idyll of Juneau secured away from the ditty scrubby Alaskans. They make me sick.

      • Problem is, most of them come from Anchorage.

        Juneau is a convenient hobbyhorse, but we are not the problem.

    • If the Crypto currency failure wasn’t enough to kill our PFD, These RINOS will definitely kill it. Just don’t expect ANYTHING good to pass through this Legistlative session unless Gov Dunleavy pulls out his RED PEN, Which we voted for him to do.

      • Which he has not done in the past. The man is useless.

        I’ve seen 6 year olds with more courage and will.

    • “So many of you were scared of what might come from a constitutional convention. By voting it down you set this chain of events in motion. This legislature knows they have zero to fear from you. You’re happy to be paypigs to slaughter.”

      Exactly. There weren’t so many wussies when I moved here in ’78.

    • We’re already the number 1 state in out-migration, per capita. Pretty sure we’ll hold onto that dubious ranking…

  19. For those of you who voted the eunuch Dunleavy back into office….

    Get a good look at him. If you liked the way he hid last term, you’re gonna love this. Put this man on a milk carton.

    This legislature is gonna use him like a $3 lady of the night.

  20. Negotiating in public and then declaring you were betrayed appears more suited for a Marx Brothers comedy than a press release. Blaming Biden for negative Alaska growth which started 3 years before Biden was elected is comical

  21. I wonder how Mr. Kaufman will work his touted budgetary and financial conservatism when joining the Democrat run caucus and agreeing to a budget that hasn’t seen the light of day. Mr. Kaufman, I’m losing hope already.

  22. Thank God the men who wrote the Alaska Constitution made sure that Alaskans had a constitutional right to initiative and referendum. (Not all state constitutions have those provisions.) They knew Alaskans would need to bypass traitors in the legislature. Roughly 64 years later that is exactly the situation we find ourselves in.

    Thanks goes to Sarah Palin for leading the voter led repeal of RCV. Sarah knew there would be “Republican” legislators who would stick a knife in our back.

  23. Welcome to the Uniparty, Alaska edition.
    .
    Is anyone still naive enough to think that voting really matters, or that the wishes of the average citizen have ANY impact whatsoever on the direction of political policy?

    • As long as people keep returning the sane tired cast of liars, no.

      Kinda like the sheep bleating Palin.

  24. The republican party becomes even more corrupt. There is no difference in leadership between them and the dems. It’s been that way since I arrived here almost 33 years ago.

  25. If you believe, as I do, in the general causes of the national Republican party, of smaller government, personal freedom, and lower taxes, we MUST understand that the Alaska republican party does NOT.
    Like it or not, we are bound with a party system. Even if we did not call ourselves a ‘party’, we would still band together as we vote on each issue. That means that in order to have actual representation in Juneau, we will need to either take back control of the republican party or standup a new party that has enough members to fight back. As new parties have some major roadblocks to meaningful existence, that leaves us with taking back the Alaska republican party.
    We will never be represented with the current batch of turncoats, which means it’s imperative that we keep constant pressure on them until we are able to replace them. Each district MUST monitor their senate and house reps on a daily basis and light up their phones, email, and meetings. Remember that; each district. Although I have absolutely no regard for the likes of gray-jackson or dunbar, it just doesn’t matter to them as I don’t live in their district. That leaves the people their district to make sure they’re heard, literally, on a daily basis.
    When the time comes where we can replace the bad ones, contact the republican party, through your district chairs, and make sure they get an earful of how they need to support REAL Republican candidates that will support our conservative values.
    And although theoretically this should be corrected in two or four years, expect the long fight. We need the mindset of guerrilla warfare, where we just fight until the fight is over. It’s beneficial to our own cause as it keeps our members active and it also lets the opposition know that even with three member in the senate, they will still need to deal with us. We’re alive out here and we’re not leaving.

  26. Just the fact that Dunbar, Giessel and Galvin were elected should tell you where things are going. I’m not even going to comment on Peltola using Don Young’s name is her campaign…
    Alaska is well on the way to a death-spiral at the hands of people who still think the PFD belongs to them!

  27. Stop with the traitor whining. Especially those of you who claim military backgrounds.

    Yes “Sarge” looking directly at you.

    Unless all you keyboard commandos want to match on Juneau with pitchforks and axe handles, STFU!

    These are parasites, whores, and worthless excuses for people, BUT: they have a track record of doing whatever the hell they want, screwing anyone and everyone in their way, and a total disregard for the people the rule.

    Yes, rule.

    A traitor is someone you trust who has a near pristine track record who OUT OF NOWHERE changes position to do you harm. The use of the term s most often associated with betrayal of country.

    Anyone who expected anything different out of them is ragingly stupid. Probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote or drive kind of stupid.

    The Republicans who did this have a long and established hostility towards their constituents. Yet the voters send them back again and again.

    You expected different? Really?

    Grow up and accept reality. They did exactly what they always do. Why? Because the voters let them.

    This is what you voted for.

      • I admit I have little patience for some personalities.

        It often comes out when dealing with some kinds of bombastic traits. Like willful ignorance manifesting as dangerous stupidity.

        Or does that make me a traitor, too?

  28. Thank the good Lord above that we aren’t getting all of the government that we’re praying for–that’s all we need, more government “of the people, by the people, and for the people!” Look around yourselves, your neighbors should scar the crap out of you: they’re looking out for your good!

  29. I must have missed the passing by the state legislature of the “No Democrat or RINO Left Behind” bill.
    .
    But in all seriousness, WHY is this happening, and HOW is it considered normal and acceptable? Since when does one party, that is in the majority, make an artificial majority with their supposed opponents? It just clearly demonstrates just how duplicitous and uniparty most of the elected Alaskan Republicans truly are.

  30. Welcome to Alaska, the world’s newest Banana Republic and home to the latest political gimmick – the Uniparty! Brought to you by Ranked Choice Voting, Dominion voting machines and corrupt judges!

  31. My Senator is Donny 0lson. If he or my Rep Neal Foster does not vote to repeal RCV they wll never get my vote again. Neal may want to look at the election results, not a landslide by a long term incumbent. The only reason we have RCV was to get the traitor Lisa elected. She knows she would never win in a R primary. Probably would win a D primary. I emplore every Alaskan to sign the petition to repeal RCV.

    • Only time they care what you think is when it comes to your vote. After that you are a nobody and could care less what you think. But in 2 years they will pander to you again to win your vote. It’s the basic wash, rinse cycle.

  32. Say what you will about RCV, but you can’t deny that it empowers people (granted many rights in the Constitution) at the expense of political parties (not mentioned in the Constitution). Most voters, including all unaffiliated voters, don’t want a small subset of primary voters to eliminate viable candidates before they get a chance to make a choice. Open primaries let voters, not parties, decide who the best candidates are; and RCV lets voters make the same choices in the booth as they would when deciding which movie to see (if Die Hard is sold out, the next best action movie becomes the 1st choice).

    I don’t think efforts to repeal RCV will work for two reasons:
    1. You can’t put the cat back in the bag. Most people liked voting for whoever they wanted to in the primary, they went into the booth knowing their 1st and 2nd choices, and most people easily understood the instant runoff process. An initiative repeal process requires convincing these voters that political parties make better choices than them in the primaries, and that a candidate can win a general election with less than 50% support.
    2. Quite a few legislators can attribute their election to RCV. They are not going to support a repeal that would cost them their job in the next election.

    • Keep denying the obvious corruption and delegimitization of the voting process that rank choice voting represents, RV, and shilling for your power establishment masters. I find your desperate assertions to be little more than whistling past the graveyard — the graveyard of electoral integrity in Alaska.
      .
      And by the way, despite your baseless assertions, I know of NOBODY who likes the vile rank choice voting process. Literally no one.

      • If you don’t know anyone that likes RCV, you’re living in a silo. Every independent loves the opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice in primaries (not RCV, but from that initiative), and a majority like and embrace the instant runoff feature. You don’t like it because your candidates fared poorly, but more will like it for the same reason.

    • “…….You can’t put the cat back in the bag……..”
      The quick repeal of SB 91 (while the rest of the nation continues to suffer the effects of “criminal justice reform”) proves you perfectly wrong.

      • Well, yes, some of SB91 was ditched. Sure.

        However, I can tell you from the law enforcement perspective, little has changed since the SB91 days.

        Driving revoked, suspended, cancelled, etc. usually gets only a citation now. Just like SB91.

        DUIs are generally processed and released on their Own Recognizance. Which means, they promise to show up to court in the distant future. Just like SB91.

        Non-DV violations of Conditions of Release do not get arrested. Just like SB91.

        Etc.

        What I’m saying is that even if RCV is tossed, the powers that be and benefit will still find their own ways to ensure their own prosperity…just like SB91.

      • By the way, part of the changes of SB91 remained in effect, and much of why we’re not experiencing huge increases in crime is because much of what used to be considered criminal no longer is.

        Also, thanks to no cooperation from District Attorney’s offices, as well as no allowable arrests, non-DV VCOR is one set of crimes no longer vigorously pursued.

        SB91 is alive and well, just a new name.

      • I didn’t say repealing in general isn’t possible, of course it is. My point was that it won’t have popular support or legislative support. More people like it than don’t, so it’s here to stay.

        • That may be true, but I’m going to guess it’s not a representative sample. I’ll loudly proclaim my ignorance if it’s repealed by statute or initiative. Will you do the same if it remains?

      • Show me a single example of people voluntarily giving up a freedom (i.e., voting for the candidate of their choice in a primary). Just one. Won’t happen.

        • RV, your assertion here is so laughable and disprovable that it debases everyone reading it.
          .
          How about all the meek sheep and conformists who gave up MANY freedoms due to the establishment-led fearmongering and outright terrorizing of the Covidian Cult Campaign of 2020-2021? Including the freedoms to operate a business, move around in public without a suffocating, useless and virtue-signaling mask — or at all? The freedom to be with dying loved ones at the end of their lives? The freedom to live without the crushing burden of unwarranted and wildly exaggerated fear?
          .
          From all appearances, the majority in this country willingly gave up all of those freedoms — and many still have given up those freedoms to this day.

  33. Every time Stevens would appear and be confronted by RCV–he would point a shaky, wagging finger at the challenging crowd and bellow–you voted for it! Of course, being completely tone deaf to the point that the majority in that finger-wag range did NOT vote for Ballot Measure 2…

  34. Sadly, Alaska has fallen like Washington and Oregon. We have some hope with Dunleavy but when he’s gone there will be a Democrat Governor from the same cookie cutter that produced Inslee and Newsome.

  35. The Democratic Party held a stranglehold on Alaska politics from 1932 to 1966, save for scattered individual election cycles where Republicans prevailed because Alaska followed in lockstep with the nation as a whole. Perhaps the pinnacle of this era was the 1st State Legislature. The Republican minority was even smaller than this proposed minority, consisting of only two members, Jack Coghill of Nenana and Jack Weise of Bethel. The Ketchikan-area Senate election between Bill Boardman and Bo Smith wound up tied. Boardman showed up in Juneau on the first day of the session insisting on being seated. With so many Democrats in the body, it was a far-fetched request and Smith eventually was sworn in.

    As you can deduce from this history lesson, there have been smaller Senate minorities before. Here’s the key difference. I read elsewhere that the majority may seek to exclude Hughes, Myers and Shower from all committees due to the size of their caucus. In Coghill’s autobiography, he mentioned how he and Weise were kept busy with committee work, because one or the other would have to represent the minority on every committee. Look at the role committees play in the overall legislative process and the recent practice of using committees as an agenda-driven chokepoint instead of a collaborative venue to refine legislation before it reaches the floor. By cutting those three out of committee work, they can use their activities in floor sessions against them, just like what’s already happened with Rep. Eastman.

  36. China, North Korea, Vietnam, Venezuala all have UNIPARTY SYSTEMS. The Root Word to all this is UNI, as in UNION. ALL these UNIPARTY legislators will receive campaign funding and a UNION workforce to put up campaign signs, make campaign mailers, work phone banks, all done with Budget—-And PFD CHECK MONEY.. No more begging for donations, or endless Meet and Greets. No more going door to door shlepping for votes . The State Employee’s. Union, and other Unions will just tell their members who to vote for, and WA LA, Instant Election Win. The Alaska Political Machine is on Auto Piolet. UNIPARTY is eating Steaks in Juneau, Republican Minority Party eating Bread and Water in the Valley..

  37. They won’t be on the Finance Committee. I believe they’ll be on other committees, but won’t chair any.

  38. I don’t expect it to happen, but I’m reasonably sure the Binding Caucus is illegal. Or at least legally dubious.

    But it takes a willingness to fight back to find out. AK conservatives talk big then go hide.

  39. I just think its entertaining to see how hindsight is 20-20 commentary is doubled down on as opposed to the devisive in-state Republican voters were leading up to the election.

    I like Mary Peltola. I don’t care if she’s Democrat or Republican. It is simply that she was the right candidate at the right time and will always be for in the history books as the first Alaska Native woman to serve Alaska.

    The story here is – talk TO her – not about her.

    She will listen and take your families life views and well-being into her decision-making.

    You will not always get what you want right now, but your voice will not be lost on hardened, chit-playing- political-gaming ears.

    However, that being said – if you are accustomed to influencing political leaders and others through those tired and ragged means, good luck.

    And at that point, hindsight is 20-20 for you.

    Here’s your call to action – learn to be a better human.

    We are, after all, in this together.

    • Next time you talk to your new friend Meemaw Peltola ask her what dirt they had on Al Gross to get him to drop out of the race.

  40. Mary Peltola is as bad as Obama holding a cone full of (dog poop) convincing the crowd that, “that this is GOT TO BE best Chocolate-ice-cream-cone I’ve ever tasted!”

    DO NOT mistake her communication style, niceness-fluff, and personality; make no mistake: She is Bernie Sanders in a skirt.

  41. I worked the poles – I stood by the machine and made sure the voters were sliding their votes into the machine correctly. Many times a RCV error was reported on the screen – choice was given, accept or reject and redo. ALL people who got that error code, out of frustration or belief they voted correctly, didn’t pull it back.
    They didn’t take the time to check their votes.
    My indication was that their ballot likely didn’t reflect the intended vote, but it was not my place to advise them on their votes.
    Alaska – We are voting in confused seas – if you’re out on that type of sea it’s an extremely dangerous place to be. Unless you get out of it, you will sooner or later capsize.
    RCV is a confusing and convoluted voting system.
    Heck, the machines and instructions didn’t understand the ballots being fed in.
    Thank goodness that through odd counting and hopscotching our Alaskan votes were honestly recorded from each precinct in a reasonable number of days.
    All was well and good as we were constantly nurtured and assured it would be, through extensive propaganda advertisements.
    Nothing to see here folks – move on and keep it coming!

  42. I understand this was probably a typo, but it is still apropos:
    “Giessel agreed, said that 92% of the people had been instructed on how to use the people,….”
    We continue to be played on a state and national level. And the sheeple love it.

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