Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, speaks during a press conference with Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, left, and Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla,at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, speaks during a press conference with Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, left, and Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla,at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Reps talking, but House still unsettled

Republicans give update on talks in the house

Rep. Dave Talerico did not get to break the news he had hoped to share during a press conference Tuesday in the Alaska State Capitol. The Healy Republican had no update on House leadership and organization. He said members of the House are “still talking quite a bit,” though.

“The most important thing is we’re still communicating,” Talerico said.

Tuesday marked the 15th day of the 31st Legislative Session, and the House remains unorganized, which is a week shy of the record of 22 days without House leadership, set back in 1981. The House cannot conduct business without House leadership in place.

There are 23 Republicans in the House, but only 20 are caucusing with their party; it takes at least 21 representatives to form a majority caucus in the House, which has 40 members. A permanent House speaker cannot be elected without a majority either.

[Opinion: Split Democrats, Republicans equally in Alaska House]

Republican Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, of Anchorage, and Louise Stutes, of Kodiak caucused with the House Majority Coalition during the last legislative session. Former Alaska GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock, who is now the Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff, targeted LeDoux and Stutes in the election, but these two managed to win their elections. They are not caucusing with Republicans now.

Talerico was asked during the press conference when he would hit the panic button. He said he hit it in December. That’s when Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, left the Republican caucus. He would have been the 21st member of that caucus to tip the scale of power in favor of Republicans. When he left, he told KTOO Public Media he wanted to join a bipartisan coalition that could act as a counterbalance to the Dunleavy administration.

Even if Knopp were to join the House Coalition caucus at this point, there could be a 20-20 split between the caucuses and no majority.

Mike Mason, a press secretary for the House Coalition, was present at Talerico’s press conference, but shook his head “no” when asked if there was an update from his camp.

As for the representatives who caught flight home during the past two weekends, Talerico stressed that the lines of communication remain open between representatives, and they are still working during the weekend.

• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for t​​he Week of Sept. 17

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023

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

This is a photo of Juneau International Airport. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Email threat to Alaska airports doesn’t appear credible, police say

Heightened presence of officers at Juneau airport planned Friday.

A 2023 municipal election ballot is placed in the drop box at Douglas Library/Fire Hall Community Building. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Number of residents registered to vote ‘nearly identical’ to last year

More than 1,100 ballots counted so far during this municipal election.

Samantha Crain, of the Choctaw Nation, sings to the crowd during a performance Thursday night as part of the Áak’w Rock music festival at Centennial Hall. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
‘It’s pure resiliency’: Áak’w Rock kicks off

The three-day Indigenous music festival attracts full crowds during its first night.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, walks down a hallway Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
With Alaska’s federal judge vacancy nearing 2-year mark, Sullivan breaks from nomination tradition

Murkowski appears skeptical about the switch, saying she’s prepared to advance nominees to Biden

Jordan Creek flows over a portion of a footbridge behind a shopping center Thursday evening. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Jordan Creek, Montana Creek and Auke Lake until 10 a.m. Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Flood warning for Jordan Creek, Montana Creek and Auke Lake issued until 10 a.m. Friday

Glacier Highway, structures near Jordan Creek may inundated, according to National Weather Service.

Soon-departing Assembly member and Deputy Mayor Maria Gladziszewski smiles for a photo at her seat in the Assembly chambers Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Q&A: Deputy Mayor Gladziszewski prepares for departure, shares advice to candidates

The long-serving Juneau Assembly member nears the end of her final term.

Participants in the 38th Annual International Coastal Cleanup carry a fishnet to a boat on a coast near Sitka in August. (Ryan Morse / Sitka Conservation Society)
Resilient Peoples and Place: Coastal cleanup removes 1,400 lbs. of trash from Sitka’s beaches

Effort by wide range of groups part of global project that has collected 350 million lbs. of waste.

Most Read