Republican Talerico falls one vote short of becoming House speaker

Republican Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, talks to Anchorage Democrat Chris Tuck on Jan. 15. There is no clear majority party in the Alaska House of Representatives — without it, the body cannot form committees or introduce bills. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Healy Republican Rep. Dave Talerico fell one vote short of being elected the speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Tuesday.

There was a tie vote, 20 to 20, for Talerico.

This was the latest action in the stalemate that’s preventing the House from beginning work this session.

North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson noted there’s a House rule requiring votes on speaker nominations on the eighth day of the session.

“There’s so much work that we need to be doing that right now, we’re not doing,” she said. “And so, this is not personal. This is truly moving forward with what we believe in, that moves what we think that Alaskans have asked us to do — as we have been in our own districts — so … this is not a power play.”

All but three House Republicans voted for Talerico. The three Republican “no” votes were Gary Knopp of Kenai, Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage and Louise Stutes of Kodiak.

Knopp said he voted against Talerico to allow for a bipartisan majority coalition.

“We’ve been faithfully for weeks now negotiating a bipartisan coalition in earnest, in good faith,” he said. “And we’ve done that as late as yesterday late. These talks have been ongoing.”

All 16 Democrats and independent Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan also voted against Talerico.

The House can’t form committees or begin its work on bills until it elects a permanent speaker.

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