Alaska State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux is the most recent lawmaker to introduce legislation that would create open primary elections. LeDoux’s bill HB200 would create a top-two style nonpartisan open primary election system. This type of primary system is very similar to the models in Washington and California. At the moment, in Alaska, the Democratic congressional and state primaries are open, but the Republican Party in Alaska only allows registered Republicans, nonpartisan, and undeclared voters in. The Libertarian Party in Alaska holds open primaries too.
HB200 would simplify the whole system, Rep. LeDoux said. Rep. LeDoux is a Republican. Just when you thought only Progressives wanted open primaries, an Alaska Republican begins to fight for them.
Of course, LeDoux is a Republican who caucuses with Democrats.
Apparently, she’s not even the only moderate Republican to caucus with Democrats either! Homer News reported three Republicans in the state caucus with Democrats. LeDoux almost resembles a Progressive though in her big push to make a more simplified, nonpartisan primary system.
“I am sponsoring HB 200 in an effort to better represent Alaska voters. My constituents have repeatedly expressed frustration with the existing closed primary system,” said Rep. LeDoux said, also stating that it is hypocritical to have closed primaries that are funded by taxpayer funds.
“When the court threw out Alaska’s previous primary system, they did so on the ground that political parties are private clubs the state cannot regulate. If all Alaskans cannot access a primary, I don’t know why the state is paying for them.”
Rep. LeDoux also said that with open primaries, lawmakers in Alaska will be more inclined to work for their whole constituencies. She said that lawmakers need to work for the people, not the parties.
“Our current system often doesn’t reward working for your whole constituency while in office. I believe HB200 is a straightforward solution that will help to enfranchise all Alaskans.”
LeDoux’s bill is supported by the Independent Voter Project, according to Open Primaries.
The Anchorage Republican doesn’t have time for politics that doesn’t work for the people. She initially ran for her House seat as a Democrat, but she lost. She ran as Republican last year, being fully upfront about her goals for Alaska, but reportedly not really mentioning that she leans Democrat. As the pundits mention that voters might feel deceived by her Republican-ticket run, a little investigating during the election season would have uncovered her previous attempt to become a Democratic lawmaker.
LeDoux won with almost 68 percent of the vote, ADN reported.
“I hear so many people complain about the closed primary system. It seems to be something that people, at least in my district, really don’t like,” LeDoux said, according to Peninsula Clarion.
As might be expected, the Alaska Republican Party’s leaders were not happy to see LeDoux, Rep. Paul Seaton, and Rep. Louise Stutes caucus with Democrats, and the party pulled all support from the three Republicans.
HB 200 stipulates a two-year phase-in process, so it can not be used to help her keep her seat in the next primary when the GOP most assuredly will run competition against her.
“This is something that I feel is important to get out there, to begin the discussion. When you ask me who’s with me on this, I think the people of Alaska are with me on this,” Rep. LeDoux said. “I think it is great for the people of Alaska.”
LeDoux said that she is sponsoring HB 200 to better represent Alaska voters, because, according to IVN, 57 percent of Alaskan voters are registered as unaffiliated, undeclared or independent voters.
[Featured Image by Michael Dinneen/AP Images]