The Alaska State Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)The Alaska State Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The Alaska State Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)The Alaska State Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Bethel Democrats begin search for Fansler’s replacement

The Democrats of House District 38 in Southwest Alaska have been charged with picking a replacement for Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, but first, they have to get organized.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the district’s Democrats will meet to select a new district chairman or chairwoman. That person will be in charge of the process that picks a shortlist of candidates for Fansler’s seat.

A Juneau woman has accused Fansler of slapping her hard enough to rupture one of her eardrums. Fansler resigned from his Legislative seat on Friday, following the Empire’s publication of her allegations.

Gov. Bill Walker will have 30 days from Feb. 12 to name a replacement. In an effort to speed up that process, the procedures of the Alaska Democratic Party call for district party officials to collect applications and winnow them to a list of finalists that will be forwarded to the governor. The district chair is in charge of that effort.

The governor is not required to pick from the district’s list of finalists, but because the governor’s pick must be confirmed by a vote of Democrats already in the House, picking from the list is generally seen as a way to ensure the pick will be accepted.

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