Republicans send four names to governor for state Senate replacement

Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) _ Two state representatives, the son of a U.S. senator and a former governor's chief of staff were endorsed Monday by the state Republican Party as candidates for the state Senate seat vacated by Drue Pearce.

Party members from Pearce's south Anchorage district met and formulated the list late Monday, then faxed their preferences to Gov. Tony Knowles. He can choose Pearce's replacement from the party list or pick his own. Whoever it is has to be a Republican, as was Pearce.

Reps. Andrew Halcro and Norm Rokeberg both made the list. Also named were Nancy Bear Usera, an executive with Alaska USA Federal Credit Union; and Ben Stevens, head of the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games-Alaska.

Pearce resigned officially June 18 to take a job as Interior Secretary Gale Norton's senior adviser for Alaska affairs. The governor has 30 days to name her replacement and submit his nominee to the Republican majority in the Senate for confirmation.

Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich said two other candidates, former Alaska Attorney General Doug Bailey and former Anchorage Assemblyman Bob Bell, were not chosen because they lacked recent statewide political activity.

Bear Usera is chairwoman of Commonwealth North and was chief of staff to Gov. Walter Hickel. She is the only one of the four who has promised not to run for the seat when it becomes open.

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