Governor Walker and Republicans have ended their impasse over the empty seat of Senator Mike Dunleavy.

Mike Shower is a pilot and former fighter commander at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). He brings leadership skills that could come in pretty handy in Juneau. But the war games between Gov. Walker and the Republican Party he used to belong to were entertaining while they lasted.

Make no mistake, with their initial list of three candidates, Valley Republicans were trying to force the governor to select sitting Representative George Rauscher to the seat.

Nobody likes their hand to be forced, and governors are no exception.

Rauscher made it easy for the governor by hanging an offensive sign on his door. Which left two choices: Todd Smoldon and Tom Braund.

Smoldon was a qualified candidate who also happens to be a Deputy Treasurer of Mike Dunleavy’s Gubernatorial campaign. Meaning he had a snowball’s chance in Hawaii of being selected.

Walker ultimately rejected all three candidates and nominated Mat-Su Assemblyman Randall Kowalke to the seat.

Remember, Walker also rejected all three candidates put forward by Democrats for Representative Dean Westlake’s seat. Governors can do that.

When the Senate rejected Kowalke, Walker no doubt took great delight in putting forward Tom Braund’s name, which lasted about ten minutes.

Braund’s sexist and offensive social media posts are good examples of why we tell our kids to never write anything on Facebook when they’re angry.

If anyone is to blame for the circus this became, it’s the Senator who vacated the seat before his term was up.

Mike Dunleavy quit to raise money for a run for Governor. While that’s entirely legal, the commotion caused by his exit, compounded by his party’s clumsy attempt to force the Governor’s hand, gave everyone the opportunity to look bad-- an opportunity they seized.

The takeaway from all this?

Maybe vet your candidates a little better; don’t nominate somebody you don’t want in the seat. Because the last person you want sitting there may be the first person the governor selects. 

After all the mudslinging, this process is finally over. The Alaska State Senate can use a good Shower.

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