Skip to main Content

Republicans, Democrats hold legislative leadership meetings as some Alaska races remain in flux

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: November 7, 2018
  • Published November 7, 2018

Editor's note: This story has been updated. Read our most up-to-date coverage here.

Alaska House Republicans were meeting Wednesday morning in Anchorage to draw up leadership positions and committee assignments as part of a new House majority that appeared to coalesce on election night.

Jeff Turner, press secretary for the House Republicans, said to expect a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The Republicans are expected to reclaim control over the chamber after losing it in 2016 for the first time in two decades to a coalition of Democrats, moderate Republicans and independents.

Whichever caucus leads the House gets to direct the agenda, the flow of legislation and key leadership positions.

House Democrats were also holding caucus meetings Wednesday morning. The old majority coalition lost two key members Tuesday night: Rep. Paul Seaton and Rep. Jason Grenn.

The meetings and discussions came as one key race was still close, with absentee and questioned ballots yet to be counted.

In Fairbanks, Republican Bart LeBon was leading Democrat Kathryn Dodge by 79 votes. Dodge said in a brief phone interview that she was participating in the Wednesday caucus meeting by phone. She said she wasn't ready to give up.

"I'm waiting to see how things unfold," Dodge said.

[Support independent journalism in Alaska. Subscribe to the Anchorage Daily News /]

In the Alaska Senate, Republicans and Democrats were also holding separate caucus meetings to decide leadership positions, though one factor is likely to be in flux for several days: The nail-biter race between Senate President Pete Kelly and Rep. Scott Kawasaki.

As of election night, Kelly was leading Kawasaki by just 11 votes, meaning the election will be decided by absentee and questioned ballots.

A victory by Kawasaki would force new leadership in the Senate and give Democrats a bigger presence on committees and in votes on budget matters.

But Republicans were set to retain firm control over the chamber, regardless of whether Kelly is re-elected.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.