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The Latest: Kowalke hopes for confirmation by GOP senators

February 10, 2018

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Bill Walker’s appointment to an Alaska Senate seat (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Randall Kowalke, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker to fill an empty Alaska Senate seat, says he hopes to avoid a fight over his nomination and win confirmation.

In picking Kowalke, Walker bypassed a list of three finalists advanced by Republicans to replace former Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla, who resigned to run for governor.

Kowalke says there were issues with the party’s district-level selection process, which produced the list.

Kowalke says he has a bad history with one of the district leaders, whom he defeated for a seat on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly. Kowalke says he didn’t think he had a chance of making the list.

He says it’s his understanding that when Walker decided not to choose any of the three finalists, he interviewed everyone else who applied.

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4:50 p.m.

Gov. Bill Walker has appointed Randall Kowalke to the Alaska Senate seat vacated last month by Republican Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla.

In doing so, Walker strayed from a list of candidates advanced by district GOP leaders, drawing a rebuke from Alaska GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock, who considered it an affront to the process.

Babcock says he has “no doubt” Senate Republicans will reject the appointment.

When there is a legislative vacancy, state law requires the person appointed be from the same party as the person who left. Traditionally, the parties send a list of names to the governor for consideration.

The governor isn’t bound to the list but the appointment is subject to confirmation, in this case, by Senate Republicans.

Walker called Kowalke “the best person to represent this district.”

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