The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Associated Press 

Mike Shower names to fill vacant District E state senate seat

Valdez has been without representations since Legislature convened


February 21, 2018

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Former Valdez woman Vicki Wellner was making the rounds as a potential nominee for the vacant District E senate seat.

JUNEAU - The man picked by Gov. Bill Walker to fill an open Alaska state Senate seat wasn't a registered Republican until Wednesday morning, when he changed his party affiliation from undeclared, according to the Alaska Division of Elections.

The party change came a day after Walker selected Mike Shower to replace Wasilla Republican Mike Dunleavy, a snarl the state GOP blames on a mix-up.

It wasn't immediately clear if the incorrect party affiliation might affect Shower's appointment to the seat. By state law, the person appointed to fill the unexpired term of a lawmaker must be of the same party. State law also defines a member of a political party as a person who "supports the political program of a party."

This is the second vetting issue in efforts to fill the seat. Last Thursday, Thomas Braund withdrew his name from consideration after social media posts about abortion. A screenshot of a post under his name captured by KTOO Public Media mentioned "hunting down" abortion providers. The post is no longer visible.

The governor's office said when announcing Shower's appointment that the candidates were vetted by the Republican Party. A message to a spokesman for Walker, a Republican-turned-independent, to discuss the vetting process wasn't immediately returned.

State GOP Chairman Tuckerman Babcock said Wednesday that Shower filled out a voter registration form at a district convention last month to change his party affiliation after it was pointed out that he wasn't registered as a Republican. Shower then participated in the convention, being elected a precinct leader and Republican delegate to the state convention, Babcock said.

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Senate Republicans' announcement of Mike Shower's appointment to the vacant District E seat.

"Somehow that form either was not turned in by the volunteers at the convention or disappeared when it hit the Division of Elections,'' he said.

He said the party has no concerns with Shower's status or with the legitimacy of his nomination. Glitches happen, he said.

"The party is content that he's a Republican and became one on Jan. 13,'' at the district convention, Babcock said. "The fact that it didn't get processed until this morning is kind of neither here nor there to the Republican Party.''

Shower declined to comment in a Wednesday email to The Associated Press, saying he was "focusing on confirmation interview today.''

Shower served in the U.S. Air Force and is a pilot with FedEx, according to his resume. The seat became vacant when Dunleavy quit to run for governor.


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