Tali Birch Kindred, daughter of deceased state Sen. Birch, takes step toward trying to fill his seat

The daughter of recently-deceased Anchorage state senator Chris Birch said she has applied to fill his now-vacant seat.

In a phone interview Friday, Tali Birch Kindred, 37, said she made the decision after a discussion with her brother and mother last week, following her father’s death.

Birch Kindred, a Republican, is an attorney for an oil company called Oil Search. She said her father dropped off her and her family at the Anchorage airport for a flight to a vacation last week, and by the time their plane landed in Washington, Birch had died, from a torn or ruptured aorta.

Birch Kindred said Friday that she didn’t agree with her father on every issue. But she was aligned with many of his positions, she added, including his view that the state should divert some of the money away from Permanent Fund dividends to help pay for government services.

Rep. Chris Birch, R-Anchorage, addresses the Capitol press corps in 2017. Birch died earlier this month. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

“My brother doesn’t live in the district; my mom would rather stab her eyes out with a pencil,” Birch Kindred said. She added: “I can’t fill his shoes, necessarily, but I think I could do a good job filling the seat.”

If Birch Kindred is appointed to her father’s seat, that philosophy could end up being important in the narrowly-divided state Senate.

Birch Kindred said she doesn’t think she’s entitled to replace her father.

““But it would be a huge honor for me to get to step into my dad’s shoes,” she added. “And I think I could do a really good job.”

Another possible candidate for the seat, Al Fogle, filed a financial disclosure Friday that’s a prerequisite for applying. Fogle ran unsuccessfully last year in the GOP primary for one of the two state House seats in Birch’s district.

In accordance with state law and Republican Party rules, GOP leaders in Birch’s district are collecting applications from people interested in replacing Birch. Applications are open until Sunday afternoon.

Then, Republicans will choose three candidates to recommend to GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who will pick Birch’s replacement. That replacement must be confirmed by a majority vote of Senate Republicans, and they’ll have to run in a special election next year if they want to keep the job.

This story will be updated.

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He's been a reporter in Alaska for a decade, and is currently reporting for Alaska Public Media. Find more of his work by subscribing to his newsletter, Northern Journal, at natherz.substack.com. Reach him at natherz@gmail.com.

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