Former Dunleavy Chief of Staff Tuckerman Babcock files bid for state Senate seat

A man wearing a blue down best posing for a photo in what looks like a hallway
Babcock lives in Soldotna. He’s running to represent Soldotna and much of the central Kenai Peninsula in the state Senate. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)

Former Dunleavy Chief of Staff and longtime Soldotna Republican Tuckerman Babcock filed to run for state Senate yesterday.

Babcock has worn many hats in Alaska politics. He was chair of the Alaska Republican party and an aide for several state legislators and Gov. Wally Hickel.

But this would be his first time serving in elected office himself. He’s running for the seat currently held by Sen. Peter Micciche. Seat D — formerly Seat O, before the new legislative maps were set in November —  covers Kenai and Soldotna, north to Hope and east to Bear Creek.

Babcock said he sees his existing relationships in Juneau as an asset.

“The governor and I have a very good relationship,” he said. “And if it happens to be Mayor Pierce as the new governor, he and I also have a good relationship. So the opportunity to work with a governor to work with the Legislature to actually accomplish things, that’s something I’ve been looking to bring to the table.”

He said he’s also motivated by the infighting he’s seen over matters like the PFD. He said he finds the repeated special sessions and lack of compromise frustrating.

“We need to resolve that with certainty,” Babcock said. “And the statutory formula worked for 30 years, so that’s the starting point.”

Micciche has been in the seat since 2012 and is also registered to run again. Babcock, who is Micciche’s only challenger so far, said he doesn’t want to compare his political leanings to Micciche’s yet, but he identifies as a conservative Republican.

Babcock has tried for state office before. He ran, unsuccessfully, for a Mat-Su seat in the late 1980s.

In 2018, Babcock ran Dunleavy’s transition team. Dunleavy and Babcock ended up in court after demanding resignations from hundreds of state employees. A federal judge ruled last year those demands were unconstitutional. Last month, a federal judge said Dunleavy and Babcock violated the First Amendment when they fired one Juneau lawyer.

Babcock said those court decisions could give future governors and transition teams some direction.  

“That’s great to have that clarity for the next transition team, the next governor,” he said. “A much more clear idea of what they’re allowed to do and not allowed to do, according to the judge’s interpretation. And that’s as it should be. But I would just say put it in context with everything going on.” 

He said he hopes people put those court losses in context with other decisions the administration made – like appointing commissioners who continue to serve the state today.

Babcock has a big family — six of his eight children live in Alaska. His wife, Kristie Babcock, was appointed by Dunleavy to the Alaska Judicial Council, the state body that nominates candidates for judicial vacancies. She also runs a State Farm insurance agency in Kenai.

State senators serve four-year terms. But the Senate seat Babcock is aiming for is open this year due to redistricting, and will be for a two-year term.

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