Murkowski picks Nancy Dahlstrom for House seat

Photo/Regan Foster/AJOC
JUNEAU -- Gov. Frank Murkowski chose Nancy Dahlstrom to fill the term of his daughter, Lisa, in the Alaska Legislature on Jan. 2.

Dahlstrom, a Republican from Eagle River, narrowly lost to Lisa Murkowski in the primary for the two-year seat.

The governor said Dahlstrom’s showing in the August primary, in which she lost by only 56 votes to his daughter, shows that she has the support of her district.

"By having finished a close second to Lisa Murkowski in her primary fight, Nancy Dahlstrom has earned this selection," Murkowski said.

Dahlstrom lost the primary after running an aggressive campaign as an anti-tax fiscal conservative against the more moderate incumbent Lisa Murkowski.

"I feel very humbled to be given the opportunity to serve the people of District 18," Dahlstrom said via a telephone interview Jan. 2.

Dahlstrom said her immediate plans are to hire a staff and prepare for the Jan. 21 start of the legislative session. But she said one pressing issue that she talked to Gov. Murkowski about is finding a resolution to the state’s subsistence dilemma and addressing education issues.

The federal government currently oversees subsistence management within two-thirds of the state due to a conflict between state and federal law.

"Subsistence is the issue that we need to find solutions to," Dahlstrom said.

Lisa Murkowski was entering her third House term and had been chosen by House Republicans as majority leader when her father appointed her to the U.S. Senate on Dec. 20.

The District 18 Republican Committee had recommended Dahlstrom, longtime legislative staffer Matt Gill and Rep. Eldon Mulder for the seat.

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.

Mulder told The Associated Press that he informed the governor on Dec. 31 that he no longer wanted to be considered for the appointment. Mulder said after discussions with his family he has decided to remain out of the Legislature.

"While I am honored to have been considered by the district and by the governor the same reasons I left in May remain today," Mulder said, adding that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

State Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich said that Mulder’s five terms would have aided the House since it will have 11 freshmen lawmakers serving this year. But he said Dahlstrom has good name recognition in her district.

"Nancy had done a great job in running a campaign for this particular seat so in that sense has earned the right to hold the seat," Ruedrich said.

01/12/2003 - 8:00pm