Houston Republicans join Cordova in demanding rule changes

William Deaton, leader of the Republican Party’s Cordova Precinct, addresses a rally in support of expanded ferry service. (Feb. 11, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Republicans in Houston, Alaska are following Cordova’s lead in demanding changes to party rules.

A resolution passed Jan. 25 by the Cordova Precinct of the Republican Party called for the abolition of the party’s binding-caucus rule. The binding-caucus rule obligates Republican legislators to vote in agreement with the rest of the party on budget issues. However, this rule has been used to undermine conservative Republican legislators who support a full Permanent Fund Dividend, said Cordova Precinct Leader William Deaton.

Houston Precinct Leader Lance Wilson plans to introduce a resolution based on the Cordova Precinct’s resolution at the Saturday, Feb. 15 Upper Mat-Su District Convention.

“I don’t think it’s fair to try and bind the hands of a legislator before they even hear an issue,” Wilson said. “It’s not fair to the legislator — it doesn’t allow them to use their own brain to weigh all the facts and to make a decision. It’s not fair to the constituents, who may hold different views from the majority and want the legislator to represent them in a different way.”

Efforts to change party rules at a state level will be more effective if multiple districts across the state present similarly worded resolutions, Wilson said.

Deaton said the Cordova Precinct’s call to abolish the binding-caucus rule has drawn responses from Republicans across the state, including Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla.

“Republicans will no longer stand idly by while ‘conservative’ legislators target and prevent real conservative legislators from doing their job well,” Deaton wrote in an email. “This resolution originated in the Cordova Precinct, but people across this great state see the same problem that we do.”