Senate Republicans have declined to confirm Gov. Bill Walker’s selection to replace Mike Dunleavy, bringing a confrontation over Walker’s choice to a political head.

The state Legislature’s Senate majority announced Wednesday that Randall Kowalke “failed to be confirmed.” Walker had named Kowalke to replace Dunleavy after he stepped down to run for governor, bypassing a list of three candidates named by Republicans in Dunleavy’s district.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Micicche (R-Soldotna) criticized Walker’s process to fill the seat in Tuesday’s statement.

“We believe the people of District E should be given an opportunity to fill the seat with a candidate they support through the traditional process, which is designed to respect the will of the voters,” Micicche said. “The seat does not belong to us in the Senate, or the governor. The seat belongs to the people of District E.”

Walker’s office was preparing a statement in response to the decision Wednesday morning.

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