Alaska House reaches record for period without a majority after another speaker vote

On February 5, the Alaska House matched the state record for the longest period without a majority in place, 22 days, first set in 1981. Without a majority, the House cannot conduct legislative business or appoint committees.
 
Republicans have a 23-16 majority (the chamber has one independent), but three Republicans—Reps. Gary Knopp, Louise Stutes, and Gabrielle LeDoux—are not aligned with the other 20 Republicans under the leadership of Rep. David Talerico. Knopp does not believe a narrow Republican majority will be effective and instead argues for a bipartisan power-sharing agreement. Stutes and LeDoux aligned with Democrats from 2017 to 2018 and have both said they want to join another bipartisan coalition.
 
Amid this deadlock, the House held a vote for a permanent speaker on February 5. Talerico was voted down 20-20, the same result as the last vote for speaker on January 22. In both cases, 20 Republicans voted for Talerico while 16 Democrats, Knopp, Stutes, LeDoux, and independent Daniel Ortiz voted against him. Knopp said he could possibly vote for Talerico in the future but first wanted to form a bipartisan majority with what he called “success potential.” Rep. Bryce Edgmon, the Democratic speaker from 2017 to 2018, was also nominated for permanent speaker, but he declined to be considered.
 
On February 4, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that eight House members (four Republicans, three Democrats, and independent Ortiz) were working on a power-sharing arrangement similar to those used by other evenly-split state legislatures. Two members of the group, Reps. Grier Hopkins (D) and Bart LeBon (R), said they wanted to reach an agreement before February 13, the day Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) budget proposal is set to be released.



About the author

Rob Oldham

Rob Oldham is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at rob.oldham@ballotpedia.org

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