Three reasons Rep. Chuck Kopp is in trouble this year - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 19, 2021
HomePoliticsThree reasons Rep. Chuck Kopp is in trouble this year

Three reasons Rep. Chuck Kopp is in trouble this year



Rep. Chuck Kopp has attracted a primary challenger in House District 24, and politicos are paying attention.

In a year when incumbents are supposed to win, due to campaigning and fund-raising difficulties, the challenger, Tom McKay, is a former chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

Tom McKay is a engineer who worked for 40 years in the oil industry, mostly in Alaska. He knows a lot of Republicans, and many trust him to take this seat.

McKay says the recent situation, with House Democrats holding up CARES Act funding, is a direct result of Rep. Kopp’s actions, because Kopp rolled his fellow Republicans and aligned with Democrats, giving people like Rep. Chris Tuck the ability to sit on $1 billion in aid.

In late 2018, Kopp, along with Rep. Jennifer Johnston, Rep. Louise Stutes, and Rep. Gary Knopp led a breakaway group from the elected Republican Majority.

They installed Byrce Edgmon as House Speaker. Edgmon, a Democrat, agreed to change his party registration to “undeclared,” to give the Republicans political cover.

In that organization, Kopp became the powerful chair of the Rules Committee. A year and a half later, he is trying to put together an organization that would make him Speaker. Some day, politicos think, he wants to run for Congressman Don Young’s seat.

But for today’s race, District 24 will be won or lost in the primary, and Republicans have developed a distaste for supporting candidates who flipped the House.

There are many reasons that Kopp could be in trouble this time around, and they have nothing to do with his stint under Gov. Sarah Palin, when he was abruptly fired after two weeks as the Commissioner-designee of Public Safety.

But with 99 days to go until the Aug. 18 primary, the top three problems Kopp has are fundamental to policy and political alignment, not the lingering #metoo problem from over a decade ago.

This race is perhaps the marquee race to watch because of these top issues:

  1. District 24 is a heavily Republican area, with 3,919 Republicans to 1,905 Democrats. Formerly represented by Lesil McGuire and Craig Johnson (and even former Gov. Sean Parnell was a representative here back in the 1990s), the voters in District 24 are no-nonsense conservatives. Kopp double-crossed his base when he caucused with Democrats and installed them in power in 2018, even though Republicans held the majority in the 2018 election.
  2. Kopp defended SB 91 and worked to block the repeal of it. SB 91 was the soft-on-crime legislation that opened the floodgates to a crime spree that swept Alaska, with catch-and-release laws that were so notorious that every criminal in the State knew the phrase “SB-91” was their get-out-of-jail free card. Many in his district wonder how a law enforcement professional like Kopp could have teamed up with a criminal defense lawyer like Rep. Matt Claman, and used his power to allow break-ins, car thefts, murders, and rampant drug dealing to descend upon law-abiding citizens. To this day, SB-91 is a hated piece of legislation by voters in District 24.
  3. Big public employee union ties are a concern. Since taking office, Kopp has shifted his concern from district matters, like fighting crime, to trying to add a defined benefit package for firefighter and police officer union members. The bill, HB 79, would cost the state an additional. $4.1 million a year, and is seen by Democrats as a crack to drive all other public employees through and attain defined benefits again, like the old PERS Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 system, which became too expensive for the State to continue. Kopp is the prime sponsor of the legislation to increase state operating costs.

Kopp is not without resources in this primary contest. He has a capable and large legislative staff that will campaign for him off-hours. The union boys will do phone-banking for him. The Democrats won’t oppose him in the General Election, so he can spend all his money in the primary, where this district is won or lost.

And he has lots of union money. In fact, $17,000 of his $27,000 war chest at the end of the year has come from the biggest unions — most of them representing public employees. Those unions will pony up more of those $1,000 donations once the Legislature is finally “out of session” and they are able to donate again.

Money is something McKay still doesn’t have a lot of, although he’s raised a few thousand dollars, he said. McKay says there won’t be traditional “fundraisers” this year, so candidates are going to have to make calls.

Kopp knows what an advantage he has in the race for cash: During a Republican District 24 meeting in December, Kopp stormed out of the gathering, telling the participants that he neither needed the Republicans’ endorsement, nor their money.

Joe Mathis, who was at the December meeting, said, “It is truly unfortunate that my legislator Chuck Kopp violates his commitment and trust that he ran on… switches his allegiance to the party that he ran against. It demonstrates his total lack of integrity and honesty to his supporters. His leadership since joining with the Democrats has been an unmitigated disaster. I could sum it all up in one statement. ‘It is Flip Flop Kopp!’  I am supporting Tom McKay as I know he has commitment,  integrity and honesty.”

Mathis and a group of other Republicans from the district say they are committed to flipping the District 24 seat back to Republican from what looks to them like a Democrat in Republican clothing.

Donations Welcome


Written by

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.

Latest comments

  • What is the link to Tom McKay’s donation page?

      • Thanks,

        Donation will be made shortly!

      • Thanks for the link!

    • he is covered. John Lindauer and Jim Crawford got it.

  • See McKay contact info below

  • 4. His name rhymes with Knopp. Another pos that’s going down hard.

  • More oil corporatists in the Alaska legislature?

    Maybe a billion and a half yearly in oil welfare isn’t enough and the treasury isn’t being emptied into the pockets of the oil corporations fast enough.

    • Come on, Bill you don’t know me. The oil industry does not own me. Knock it off.

      • As far as I can tell, you volunteered to run for public office.

        I’m certainly not compelled to alter my opinions just because you make some claim to be without conflict of interest.

        That’s for the public to decide, and political speech is one method the public has to vet a candidate.

        Time will tell, first, if you’re elected at all, and second, whether you end up to actually be without conflict.

        Corporate welfare is the elephant in the room as far as Alaska’s budget goes.

        More corporatists aren’t the answer to putting an end to corporate welfare.

      • This comment, and Mr. Pletcher’s below, reminded me of something about Rep. Kopp. Unlike an understandable majority of the politicians I have worked with, I have seen him (more than once) do the right thing instead of the easy thing. There is no political reward for this, it costs political capital, and usually you end up worse off, personally. If politicians care about hanging on to their seat, everything tends to be secondary to that. As most MRAK readers know better than I, it seems like taking a stand for something – anything, really – will get someone thrown out of office on principle until some less principled person runs up to do exactly what the party tells them, which is: “Hang on to your seat.” So, to put it very bluntly, doing what is right instead of what is easy is akin to political suicide. I tend to vote for people who are brave, because that is the behavior I’d like to select for in the legislature. It takes bravery to not play a numbers game all the time, to challenge your contributors when they mess with your constituents, to be there when YOU need them. Or maybe they’ll tell you to “Knock it off” if you question their ability to be fair minded. It’s an interesting approach.

    • Bill Tobin, Oil price per barrel is hovering around 10 bucks. Hardly the moment to demonize Oil Companies.
      Those of us who built the Trans Alaska Pipeline recall the vast sums invested in developing Alaska’s resources. Without massive infusions of “outside” investment Alaska would not have ant industry. Please stop with the infantile attacks on thhose employed in productive industries.

      • We were fine before the boomers and we’ll be fine again when you all finally leave.

        There’s still a good many of us that don’t think monetizing every resource has been good for Alaska.

        I, myself, much preferred life before all the boomers showed up and turned our majority blue state red.

    • Same old story from a union loser. Get a clue and life. Your libs will continue to ruin this state.

      • The boomers ruined it.

        Alaska was much better before the boomers showed up.

        • If you are a pre boomer then your not for statehood or a state moving foreword. The boomers born here are as much Alaskan as you want to be or claim to be. I guess you never have used the infrastructure or taken a PFD since you hate progress.

          • Your imaginary premises aren’t supported by any substantive evidence. You trying to invent straw men for you to then attempt to knock down is usually described in fewer words than this.

  • Since when is $27,000 a ‘war chest’?

  • Isn’t this the guy that Palin appointed who had to step down? He’s law enforcement but every cop you talk to thinks he’s a dirt bag?
    Same guy?
    How the heck did he get elected in the first place?

    Total shock, a man of such sterling character would sell out his fellow citizens so easily and so often.. I mean, it’s really a surprise.

    What a class of legislators we have here. About the only thing more corrupt than these guys is the AK Supreme Court…

    God help us if these voters don’t rise up and demand a bit better.. a modicum of decency and loyalty to the average Alaskan would be a bonus, but just not subhuman sell outs would be a good start..

    • Kopp had a sexual harassment charge against him that he was ‘reprimanded’ for while he was Kenai’s police chief or when he was, for a short time, acting city manager.

      The question remains though, why do Republicans so often ignore a history of sexual harassment and predation and then go on to elect so many sexual predators?

      • That is your question? Seems more like a poor attempt at an insult, but also demonstrably false. The left has vastly more conflicts on this subject as they are the founders of #metoo and “all women must be believed” which is an absurd notion to begin with, but for which they overlook for paragons of their political party all the time.. Clinton, Kennedy, Biden, Dodd, Mallott? The list goes on and on and on and on.. I would add Kopp to it as well, as he is obviously much more a fan of the “government knows best” and property seizure crowd of the left, than he is of the rights of the individual, that is the bedrock of conservatism.

        • No, that was my question and you didn’t answer it.

          • Here you go then, the short answer is: They don’t.

            Their record in holding their own accountable is vastly more consistent and ethical than the collectivists on the left who blindly follow a legion of corrupt and despicable overlords.

            While I would rank their individual abuses of women below their other atrocities such as forced internment, re-education camps, infanticide and genocide, etc etc (and its a long and miserable list) the left, as a movement, has brought more harm to the world than any other in the last 200 years. It is a dark doctrine of selfishness, that wishes not only to Steal from and enslave their fellow man, but to control his very thoughts.

            All ideologies And political movements have their scoundrels, but at their core the left craves power, domination, subjugation and submission above all else. It follows they would pay little heed to the rights and wishes of individual women, as it pertains to consensual or non consensual relationships, and the behavior of their leaders bares this out.

      • You are so over the top with your comments. Republicans select sexual predators? You better look at your own party, including your presidential candidate.

        • You want to compare presidential candidates?

          Do go on…

          • Sure. Let’s do that:
            Bill Clinton- Rapist.
            Barack Obama-Communist and Seditionist
            Hillary Clinton-Pay to Play specialist

            And now you have Biden, who masterfully combines all three, and adds in a healthy dose of dementia.

            I’ll say this for you Bill, you’ve taken the best qualities of a left wing candidate and rolled them all into Biden. He is the perfect representation of what and who leftists want ruling over us. A morally bankrupt, totally unethical dirtbag, completely beholden to his Chinese masters, and easily manipulated by the elites into doing their bidding. Good call.

      • Bill Tobin, take off your blinders for a moment please. Democrats reportedly have been Trail Blazers in the use of political power to further their sexual ambitions. From National leaders such as Teddy Kennedy , your pal Bill Clinton to numerous Alaska Democrats which decorum here prevents further description.
        Your use of invective is reminiscent of Lenin. Perverts inhabit both Political Parties , Bill Tobin.

        • I didn’t ask about someone else.

          I asked about the sexual predators that Republicans elect.

          What, your blinders too tight to answer?

      • It’s sad that you think sexual harassment is a single party issue, you must have not heard about creepy Joe Biden…he’s the presumptive Democrat candidate for President and he’s embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. And then there’s this video of him sniffing children’s hair and stroking their faces

        • Who said it was a single party issue?

          You didn’t answer the question either.

  • I will be spending some money this next couple months on primary candidates against RINO’s like Kopp, Queen Cathy, Knopp, Johnston, etc!
    BTW good news – the LB&A Committee finally tonight passed the CARES Act funds!

  • Kopp the cop is an idiot with a firearm. That much I know for a fact.

    I wish a true conservative would run in this district vs. Gary Knopp. He aint the guy he portrayed his self to be when he first ran.

  • Does anyone have a opinion on who to vote for or to help campaign for.?
    I’m Republican and tired of corrupt legislators and just looking to vote for a party who generally has our back and has integrity and honesty and will represent the people in Ak. Help Trump clean the swamp.
    Is there such a candidate?
    Please help with who can be that candidate?
    Who will help get our PFD back?
    We need to be very careful on this next election because there are a lot of representatives out there that have sold our country out and are still trying to accomplish that. So we need to make sure we have the next candidates we elect work for us on our behalf. Not us work for them! We need to take our “Bread & Butter back” give back to the people instead of our representatives serving us rations which is starving our State and the people living in AK.

  • Kopp — out.

  • When I had a constituent issue, I emailed Rep. Kopp’s office around 5 pm, he and his staff were addressing this issue before 8 am the next morning. They were very professional and had excellent follow up skills. His staff regularly come to CC Meetings and his office took the lead on the AK RR right-of-way issue in Oceanview – for which many residents are grateful. In addition to Republicans, there are a lot of Independents and moderates in HD 24 that he needs to represent. Jus’ sayin’…

  • We can complain about RINOs all day long and not change a thing. Get out your check book and volunteer to help Toms campaign or you are just hot air.

  • Rep. Kopp has worked hard to resolve the Alaska Railroad Right of Way issue which is the most important private property rights issue that I have seen in my 50 years of living in Alaska. See: for an explanation of the problems caused by the way the Department of the Interior and the FRA transferred the assets. If nothing else read the letter that Cong. Young wrote on the subject on the home page there. Don Young was directly involved as a delegation member in 1982 when the railroad was transferred to the state of Alaska and explains that fundamental mistakes were made. Chuck Kopp is correcting those mistakes. Many rock- solid Republicans joined Kopp in these efforts. Many independents and Democrats joined these Republican supporters of private property rights. With Kopp’s guidance House Joint Resolution 38 passed the house by a score of 38-2. This demonstrates an ability to work with others which I admire.

    • Rep Kopp worked hard for the special interests and his corrupt Paymasters to steal $6000 from every man woman and child in the state of Alaska- and- during the greatest crisis of the last 100 years, worked equally hard to keep state and federal aid from reaching Alaskans in their time of need. Even paying the modest PFD payment early, with our state at its highest levels of unemployment, was too much to ask for this shill. I don’t know what is “moderate” about this sort of corruption, theft, and complete disdain for the people of Alaska, but if this is what you want for representation you can have it. Kopp and his ilk (Knopp, Imhoff, Giessel, et al) are snakes.

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