UPDATE: Sen. Mike Dunleavy resigns Senate seat, eyes governor position
Citing concerns with Alaska's current governor, Sen Mike Dunleavy officially resigned on Monday, Jan. 8, by sending a letter of resignation to Senate President Pete Kelly.
In a news release issued by Dunleavy himself, he specifically calls out the administration of Gov. Walker, citing his frustration there as a driving force behind resigning from State Senate in order to run for governor himself.
"I’ve come to the conclusion that without new leadership in the Governor’s office, there is a practical limit to what any individual or caucus in the Legislature can achieve to turn this state around. I believe the best way I can effectively advocate for my constituents’ values is to devote 100 percent of my time and energy to the cause of ensuring that Alaska elects a new Governor in 2018. I am accordingly resigning from my seat in the State Senate," Dunleavy wrote in a statement.
Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, is set to resign his Senate seat to focus on his campaign to be the state's next governor, according to Tuckerman Babcock, the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.
The State Republicans will now work quickly to fill his seat as the 2018 legislative session begins Jan. 16. Dunleavy recently revived his campaign for governor after previously suspending it for treatment of a medical condition.
Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, confirmed that he would seek Dunleavy's vacant seat. In a phone call with Channel 2, Rauscher said he believed he has the experience to govern the area Dunleavy's seat covers. Rauscher cited the complexity of the area with its military base, federal highway, marine highway, railway and multiple cities as a reason to elect him.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Randall Kowalke who currently represents Willow in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly also confirmed he was going to run for Dunleavy's seat. Kowalke said, "I am hoping that Republicans in Districts 9 and 10 will support me as well."
Babcock says Dunleavy announced the news of his resignation at a Republican Party gala in Anchorage Saturday night. He understands Dunleavy will officially resign his seat Monday. However, the effective date of the resignation is yet to be determined.
The importance of that second date is important, once that is determined the Alaskan Republican Party will then have 14 days to submit three names to Gov. Walker. The Governor will then decide on a replacement within 30 days. Babcock says he expects the Alaska Republican Party to submit the three candidates within 24-hours of the effective date being known.
The candidates for the Senate seat can be drawn from either District 9 or District 10, explains Babcock. District 9 is located around Wasilla and Meadow Lakes and District 10 extends north past Willow and west toward Point Mackenzie.
Babcock sayshe isn't involved in nominating the candidates; instead, the decision will be made by local committee members from District 9 and District 10.