The Alaska Division of Elections has rejected a rule passed by the Republican Party last weekend, that would exclude three incumbent legislators from running in the party's primary.

Republican Representatives Louise Stutes, of Kodiak, Paul Seaton, of Homer and Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage, joined arms with Democrats and Independents in Juneau to form a bipartisan coalition after last year's election.

Now, the Republican Party says a recent ruling in a lawsuit by the Alaska Democratic Party to include Independents in their primary, means the GOP can exclude people from its election. But Division of Elections Director, Josie Bahnke, disagreed.

In a letter dated December 7, Bahnke cites three reasons for not taking any action on the GOP's new rule.

Bahnke says the submission of the rule change comes after the party's legal deadline to do so, and that the court ruling in the Democratic Party's case does not change that deadline.

The Division also cites the current law which allows any registered Republican to run in the party's primary and legal precedent on the issue.

At this time, the Div. of Elections says none of the three lawmakers targeted by the rule change have filed for re-election in 2018, so any action by the division would be premature.

After the state appealed the Democratic Party's case to the Alaska supreme court, the Alaska GOP's chairman, Tuckerman Babcock, says the Republican Party is now considering joining with Democrats in the legal case.

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