- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Latest on the organization of the Alaska Legislature (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

The chairman of the Alaska Republican party is inviting the three moderate Republicans who joined with Democrats to take control of the Alaska House to leave the GOP.

In an open letter, Tuckerman Babcock accuses Republican Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Louise Stutes and Paul Seaton of “abandoning” their team and joining with Democrats.

Because of that, he says the party invites them to “drop the pretense” that they are Republicans and leave the state GOP.

He asks that Stutes return $1,000 in campaign funds she received from the party and says he’ll recommend that the party recruit Republicans to challenge them during their next re-election.

Party spokeswoman Suzanne Downing says the letter was posted on the state GOP Facebook page. A copy of Babcock’s comments also was shared with reporters.

Democratic Rep. Bryce Edgmon, who will be the new House speaker, said the caucus organized around the central purpose of tackling the state’s budget deficit.


The item above was corrected to show Babcock’s comments were posted as an open letter, posted on the party’s Facebook page and shared with reporters.


3:15 p.m.

The Alaska House has a new bipartisan majority.

Democratic Rep. Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham will be House speaker. Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck will be majority leader. Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux will serve as House Rules chair.

Republican Rep. Paul Seaton and Democratic Rep. Neal Foster of Nome will co-chair the House Finance Committee.

The new majority will be comprised of at least 22 members.

One race, between Republican Rep. Charisse Millett and Democrat Pat Higgins, was separated by just 45 votes Wednesday, with Millett holding the lead. Higgins attended the news conference for the new majority Wednesday.

The Senate also organized Wednesday. It has a 15-member Republican-led majority that includes one rural Democrat, Lyman Hoffman of Bethel.


2:30 p.m.

The Alaska Senate will have a new Republican-led majority, with Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly serving as president.

Sen. Peter Micciche of Soldotna will be majority leader. The current Senate president, Kevin Meyer of Anchorage, will chair the Senate Rules Committee, and Sens. Anna MacKinnon of Eagle River and Lyman Hoffman of Bethel will co-chair the Senate Finance Committee.

Daniel McDonald, with the Senate majority press office, said Hoffman is the lone Democrat in the 15-member majority.

The majority, in a release Wednesday, also said incoming Sen. Natasha von Imhof will join the Senate Finance Committee.

Von Imhof was elected to the seat held by Republican Lesil McGuire, who did not seek re-election. The finance panel also will include existing members Micciche, Mike Dunleavy and Click Bishop.

A new organization in the House was expected to be announced Wednesday afternoon.

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