The Latest: Walker: Alaska Senate nominee had strong support

February 13, 2018

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

3:50 p.m.

Gov. Bill Walker says the man he picked to fill a vacant Alaska Senate seat got more support than any of the other applicants for the job.

Walker on Friday appointed Randall Kowalke (coh-WAHL-kee) to replace former Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla. The appointment is subject to confirmation by Senate Republicans.

Kowalke was one of 11 applicants for the seat but not among the finalists advanced by GOP leaders in Senate District E.

His appointment upset some Republicans, who saw it as an affront to the traditional nominating process.

Walker says support for Kowalke came unsolicited from mayors, business people and constituents in that district.

He would not say if he had concerns with the three finalists advanced by the district. But he says he wanted to look more broadly at his options.


10:25 a.m.

Alaska Senate Republicans face pressure from within their party to reject Gov. Bill Walker’s pick to fill an open Senate seat after Walker sidestepped a list of GOP finalists in making his selection.

Senate President Pete Kelly says Senate Republicans plan to meet early this week to discuss Walker’s appointment of Randall Kowalke (coh-WAHL-kee) to replace former Sen. Mike Dunleavy, who resigned to run for governor.

Kowalke was not on the list of finalists submitted to Walker for consideration by Republicans from Dunleavy’s district. Walker has not explained his decision, but says Kowalke is the best person for the job.

Walker isn’t bound to pick a name from the list, which Kelly acknowledged. But Kelly says Senate Republicans will have to weigh whether the people in that district were treated fairly.

Update hourly