Alaska GOP chair ‘shocked’ by Walker pick for Senate seat
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The chairman of the Alaska Republican party says he is “shocked” that Gov. Bill Walker chose Thomas Braund for a vacant Alaska Senate seat.
Walker appointed Braund to replace Wasilla Republican Mike Dunleavy, who resigned. Walker picked Braund after Senate Republicans rejected his initial pick, Randall Kowalke.
Kowalke applied for the seat but wasn’t among the finalists sent to Walker for consideration by Republicans in that district. The finalists were Braund, Rep. George Rauscher and Todd Smoldon.
State GOP Chairman Tuckerman Babcock had chided Walker for straying from the list in picking Kowalke.
On Thursday, Babcock said he was glad Walker used the list. But he said he’s “shocked” that of the three nominations, Walker felt Braund was the best choice, citing the qualifications and activities of the other two.
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