Three finalists named to replace Mike Dunleavy in Alaska Senate

Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

A sitting state legislator is among the three names being forwarded to Gov. Bill Walker as possible replacements for Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla.

On Monday night in Wasilla’s Menard Center, Republican delegates from House districts 9 and 10 selected Todd Smoldon, Tom Braund and Rep. George Rauscher, of Sutton.

The selections followed hours of interviews and discussion presided over by state party chairman Tuckerman Babcock, who shared the results with the Empire by email.

Eleven candidates were considered, and five of the 11 were interviewed.

Walker has 30 days to pick a new Mat-Su senator from among the three men. Walker’s choice must then be confirmed by the other Republicans in the Senate. If not, the process restarts.

Dunleavy announced his resignation in the first week of January, saying he intends to concentrate on his run for governor.

Rauscher was elected in 2016 to the Alaska House of Representatives and is in his first term as a lawmaker. Smoldon is an economics teacher and Republican precinct leader from House District 10, and Braund is a retiree and Republican precinct leader from House District 9.

In order to be considered, all candidates had to be Republicans living in districts 9 or 10, in addition to meeting all other constitutional qualifications for office.

Whoever wins the seat will face a fall election to keep it, if he so chooses to run.

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