Republicans in House District 24 (Bayshore, Oceanview, Klatt Road) held a meeting of District leadership at 1030 Saturday, June 6 to consider endorsements of one Republican candidate for the legislature. This was Tom McKay, running in the primary against incumbent House member Chuck Kopp. There was a short discussion and vote. The meeting adjourned to address a procedural issue. It reconvened Tuesday evening and adjourned, endorsing McKay for the August primary.
This started a few weeks ago with a request by McKay for a pre-primary endorsement. While not regularly done, this request triggered a formal process in the District detailed in Party Rules. In short, the District leadership appoints a Target Committee which interviews candidates and reports the results of those interviews to the District leadership at the leadership meeting.
Areas of questioning are detailed in Party Rules and generally concentrate on knowledge and support for both the Party Platform and Party Rules.
Initially, McKay made the only request for an endorsement. Representative Kopp and Senator von Imhof both requested endorsements shortly afterwards. The interviews were held telephonically Friday, June 5 for McKay and von Imhof. Kopp cancelled his interview around 50 minutes before it was scheduled via an e-mailed statement to the leadership that ended with the following:
“Bruce Schulte explained to me that he is not able to provide for a more just endorsement process. The interview outcome has clearly been predetermined and I do not believe this reflects the will of my constituents, who I know to be fair-minded and more interested in hard work and results than in-party bickering. Because of this, I withdraw my request for a pre-primary endorsement interview and respectfully request the District 24 Party return to its 2018 position of not endorsing candidates in the Primary Election. As I embark on my third campaign in District 24, I will continue to diligently listen and work for my constituents whom I have been privileged to serve through their strong support these past four years.
The coming year will inevitably bring about new economic challenges. We need leaders who will break through the noise of partisanship to work for the common good of all Alaskans. I believe our community will see past the partisan fighting that has brought us nothing but gridlock and support those willing to work together to provide our state with real solutions.”
The outcome from this is that District 24 has endorsed House challenger Tom McKay for the state primary in August. Both Chuck Kopp and Natasha von Imhof withdrew their requests for an endorsement before the meeting was held on Saturday. A fourth Republican candidate, Stephen Duplantis, who filed to run against Senator von Imhof, has not yet requested an endorsement. Should he do so, his request will be considered like the rest of the candidates. It is what Party rules require, and what we are determined to do. Should Representative Kopp and / or Senator von Imhof request an endorsement, we will restart the process once again.
On a personal note: The Author participated in the process and has donated to Tom McKay this election cycle. He donated to von Imhof and Kopp in 2016.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.