Three nominated to replace Murkowski in state House

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three Anchorage Republicans, including veteran lawmaker Eldon Mulder, have been nominated to replace U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the state House.

The District 18 Republican Committee also nominated Eagle River resident Nancy Dahlstrom, who nearly defeated Murkowski in the primary, and Government Hill resident Matt Gill, a party volunteer and legislative staffer, at a meeting Monday evening at party headquarters in Anchorage.

The names will be forwarded to Gov. Fran, Murkowski, who has 30 days to appoint a successor under state law. But Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich said Murkowski has indicated he will make a decision by Friday.

Whoever is chosen will, for the next two years, represent a new district that sprawls across north and East Anchorage.

Each nominee represented one of the district's three precincts.

Any of the candidates would mesh well with Republican majority's program for the session, said incoming House speaker Pete Kott, R-Eagle River.

''All three of them are very conservative,'' he said. ''No matter which one of them is finally chosen, I believe that they'll fit.''

Mulder had represented Muldoon in the state House since 1993 but chose not to run against Murkowski in the primary after reapportionment placed them both in a district that includes military bases and parts of Eagle River-Chugiak, Muldoon and Government Hill.

Dahlstrom ran an aggressive campaign as an anti-tax fiscal conservative against more moderate Murkowski in the August Republican primary and lost by only 56 votes. Gill, a staffer for incoming House Finance chairman John Harris, R-Valdez, had also worked for Mulder for years.

Lisa Murkowski, 45, had been chosen to serve as majority leader during her third House term when she was named by her father, Alaska's new governor, to assume his seat in the U.S. Senate.

Mulder participated in the meeting by telephone from Australia, where he is visiting relatives. He told the committee that he wanted to be considered but also wanted to discuss his role with other Republican leaders and the governor before he made a commitment.

Several people urged the committee to nominate Dahlstrom because of her strong showing and energetic primary campaign.

''I'm confident that the governor is going to make the decision that is best for the district,'' Dahlstrom said after the meeting. ''I do believe I earned a right to be a serious contender.''

Gill, who will work on the state budget for Harris during the session said that, if not selected, he will still be part of the legislative process.

''But there's something to be said for being able to push the buttons,'' he said. ''I just wanted to make sure we had somebody to push the buttons the right way.''



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