Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named fellow Republican Thomas Baker of Kotzebue to fill the Alaska House seat vacated by Josiah Patkotak.
The seat came open when Patkotak was elected to serve as mayor of the North Slope Borough. He represented House District 40, which covers a wide swath of northern Alaska, stretching from the Northwest Arctic Borough across the North Slope Borough.
Since Patkotak was registered as nonpartisan, the governor was free to nominate any qualified candidate from the district, regardless of political party, to fill the seat.
Baker works for the Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation and previously served on the Kotzebue City Council, as well as the tribal council for the Native Village of Kotzebue. He previously ran for a seat in the Alaska Senate in 2020, losing to Democratic incumbent Donny Olson.
A spokesman for the Governor says Baker’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the state’s House Republicans. However, lawyer Scott Kendall, who authored the state statute dealing with appointees, says Baker would be subject to confirmation by the Alaska House majority caucus, which includes 19 Republicans, two Democrats and an independent.