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GOP claims control of Alaska House as ballot count continues

November 8, 2018
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Dave Talerico, the new speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, listens to a question after a news conference he held with other members of the new Republican majority on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Talerico, a retired miner from Healy, Alaska, said the caucus was working out details, such as guiding principles, following the general election on Nov. 6, 2018, that put the GOP back into the majority. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Republicans on Wednesday said they had regained control of the Alaska House, an announcement the current House speaker called premature.

The state House has 40 members, and the GOP majority stood at the minimum of 21.

Rep. Dave Talerico of Healy told reporters he was chosen to be the next speaker. He said the caucus was working out details, such as guiding principles and whether the caucus would require members to vote for the budget.

But Edgmon, in a statement, said ballot counting continues and that there remains one tight House race whose outcome could split the House evenly. A Republican leads in that Fairbanks House race.

If Republicans do take hold of the House, it would be significant. Republican Mike Dunleavy was elected governor, and Republicans are expected to hold the Senate.

Republicans have spent the past two years in the House minority.

The requirement for caucus members to vote for the budget has been a touchy subject. In 2017, two conservative Senate members — Dunleavy and Shelley Hughes — left the Senate’s GOP-led caucus over budget concerns.

Dunleavy earlier this year quit the Senate to focus on his campaign for governor.

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