Former fishing company CEO Larry Cotter has announced he will withdraw his candidacy for Senate District Q. (Courtesy photo)

Former fishing company CEO Larry Cotter has announced he will withdraw his candidacy for Senate District Q. (Courtesy photo)

Candidate drops out of race to replace Sen. Dennis Egan

One of the three candidates running for the Alaska Senate seat covering northern Southeast has dropped out of the race.

In an emailed statement Wednesday morning, independent candidate Larry Cotter said he is withdrawing his candidacy due to medical reasons.

“Just over a week ago, on Sunday, May 20, I suffered a pulmonary edema, a major health event,” Cotter wrote. “If it were not for the very capable Capital City Fire and Rescue EMTs and Bartlett Regional Hospital Emergency Room staff, it is unlikely that I would be alive today.”

Cotter said he believes that his health would become “a matter of discussion during the campaign” and distract from conversations about the issues facing Alaska.

“It is clear to me now that I will not be able to have that conversation given my health issues. Accordingly, I am withdrawing my candidacy effective immediately,” he said.

By phone, he said he came to the decision after beginning to draft a press release explaining his recent health emergency.

“As I thought through that process, I realized that’s going to have its own negativity,” he said, and distract from other discussions.

Added to the recent emergency was the fact that he had significant back surgery last month, and he is still moving around with the assistance of a walker.

On Monday, he had a talk with his wife and daughter, and he said they told him that the decision is his, but they wanted him to prioritize his health and family first.

“I have to take that advice,” Cotter said.

Cotter was the first person to file a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission to replace Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau. Egan announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election.

Cotter’s withdrawal leaves two candidates still in the race: former Egan staffer (and current Juneau Assembly member) Jesse Kiehl, and former lobbyist Don Etheridge.

“I regret that he’s got health problems and wish him the best in recovery and hope all goes well,” Etheridge said.

He added that he has some idea what Cotter is going through: During Etheridge’s last run for the Juneau Assembly, he was fighting cancer and had to fly to Seattle every three weeks for treatment.

“I know how it is,” he said.

Kiehl, reached by phone on Wednesday morning, wished Cotter well.

“It’s too bad,” he said. “Larry and I were looking forward to a lot of good conversations this fall.”

The filing deadline for the statewide election is 5 p.m. Friday.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

Bartlett Regional Hospital’s behavioral health and crisis stabilization center during its unveiling on June 14, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital shuts down programs at recently opened Aurora Behavioral Health Center

Behavioral health and crisis services halted at center due to lack of funds and staff, officials say.

A car on Gastineau Avenue is partially buried by a mudslide that occurred during record rainfall on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Photo by Simba Blackman)
New July rainfall record set for Juneau with a week to go; Suicide Basin nears 2023 fill level

No more heavy storms expected this month, according to forecaster.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Board of Trustees votes for a new chair and vice chair during a meeting in Fairbanks on Wednesday. (Screenshot from APFC livestream)
Ellie Rubenstein resigns from Permanent Fund board, Ethan Schutt displaced as chair in wake of email allegations

Trustees elect new chair, vice chair Wednesday morning; Rubenstein announces resignation hours later

Police and other emergency officials treat Steven Kissack after he was shot on Front Street on Monday, July 15, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Names of officers involved in death of Steven Kissack released, along with more details of standoff

JPD states Kissack threatened to kill officers; one officer who fired gun cleared in 2016 shooting.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks on Jan. 4, 2024, at a town hall meeting on the possible Albertsons-Kroger grocery merger. The meeting was held at the Teamsters Local 959 headquarters in Anchorage. Peltola said on Tuesday she has not decided whether to support her party’s likely candidate, Vice President Kamala Harris. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Mary Peltola withholds support for Kamala Harris, is ‘keeping an open mind’

Congresswoman says she’s considering Harris presidency’s affect on Alaska as an oil-dependent state.

People arrive for a service at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Lawsuit: Resurrection Lutheran Church leaders have been ousted, clarity in ‘ministerial work’ needed

Pastor Karen Perkins, two others targeted in long-brewing feud at church known for helping homeless.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, July 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, July 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read