The Latest: Walker wants more names to fill GOP Senate seat
Feb. 16, 2018
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the fight over an open Alaska Senate seat (all times local):
Gov. Bill Walker wants two more candidates from Republicans before he selects someone to fill a vacant state Senate seat.
Walker's chief of staff, Scott Kendall, on Thursday asked Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock for two additional names to be considered along with Vicki Wallner.
It's the latest turn in the battle to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Mike Dunleavy. The local Republicans initially submitted three names to Walker for consideration. He's not bound by that list, and chose someone else.
Senate Republican rejected that choice, so Walker on Wednesday did pick someone from the list, Tom Braund. He withdrew his name Thursday after his fitness for office was questioned and past statements on abortion drew condemnation. When informing Braund's withdrawal to the governor, Babcock submitted Wallner's name as their third candidate.
In the letter to Babcock, Kendall says the governor has also rejected the two other names on the initial list, Rep. George Rauscher and Todd Smoldon.
The state Republican party chairman is adding a new name for consideration for an open Alaska Senate seat.
Tuckerman Babcock advanced the name of Vicki Chaffin Wallner to Gov. Bill Walker, who is trying to replace Wasilla Republican Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy resigned last month.
Walker's initial pick, Randall Kowalke, irritated Republicans, because Kowalke wasn't on a list of candidates that Republicans from Dunleavy's district sent Walker for consideration.
Walker isn't bound to the list, but whoever he picks is subject to confirmation by Senate Republicans.
His next pick, Thomas Braund, was on the list, but withdrew Thursday amid questions about his fitness. Walker's chief of staff said Walker did not endorse any of the three candidates initially sent to him.
Babcock said Wallner finished next in line in district balloting
Gov. Bill Walker's pick to fill an open Alaska Senate seat has withdrawn from consideration.
In an email to Walker, Thomas Braund cited personal reasons for his decision. He says he has a friend with needs and he is her provider.
This follows a statement from Walker chief of staff Scott Kendall, who said Walker did not endorse Braund or the other two candidates sent to him for consideration by Republicans.
Braund's nomination was condemned by Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner over incendiary comments he made about abortion. State GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock says he was shocked by the pick.
Walker now has a third opportunity to fill the seat. His initial pick of Randall Kowalke was rejected by Senate Republicans because Kowalke wasn't on the Republicans' list of finalists.
A top aide to Gov. Bill Walker says Republicans "have the nominee they demanded" in Thomas Braund.
Walker chief of staff Scott Kendall says Walker doesn't endorse Braund or the other two candidates sent to him for consideration by Republicans. Kendall says questions about Braund's fitness should go to the GOP.
Braund's nomination was condemned by Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner over incendiary comments he has made about abortion. State GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock says he was shocked by the pick.
Walker on Wednesday appointed Braund to replace Wasilla Republican Mike Dunleavy in the Senate after Senate Republicans rejected his first pick, Randall Kowalke.
Kowalke applied for the seat but wasn't among the three finalists advanced by Republicans in that district.
Republicans chided Walker for straying from the list in picking Kowalke.
The chairman of the Alaska Republican party says he is "shocked" that Gov. Bill Walker chose Thomas Braund for a vacant Alaska Senate seat.
Walker appointed Braund to replace Wasilla Republican Mike Dunleavy, who resigned. Walker picked Braund after Senate Republicans rejected his initial pick, Randall Kowalke.
Kowalke applied for the seat but wasn't among the finalists sent to Walker for consideration by Republicans in that district. The finalists were Braund, Rep. George Rauscher and Todd Smoldon.
State GOP Chairman Tuckerman Babcock had chided Walker for straying from the list in picking Kowalke.
On Thursday, Babcock said he was glad Walker used the list. But he said he's "shocked" that of the three nominations, Walker felt Braund was the best choice, citing the qualifications and activities of the other two.