Rep. Laddie Shaw selected to fill seat of late Sen. Chris Birch

Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage, speaks during a House floor session in Juneau on March 20, 2019. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Friday that he’s selected Rep. Laddie Shaw to fill the vacant state Senate seat previously held by Chris Birch. Birch, an Anchorage Republican, died earlier this month from a torn aorta, at the age of 68.

Shaw is a former Navy Seal who was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2018.

In a Facebook live address, Dunleavy said Shaw has the experience and desire needed to serve Senate District M.

“Laddie and I had a conversation about his view of government, his view of public service,” Dunleavy said. “And I think it’s going to be a really good fit for District M.

Senate Republicans will get the final vote on whether or not to confirm Shaw as Birch’s replacement. In a statement, Republican Senate President Cathy Giessel said that Senate Republicans will not meet to vote on Shaw until after Labor Day.

After Birch’s death, in a procedure that follows state law and political custom, the Alaska Republican Party submitted three candidates for Dunleavy to choose from to fill the vacant seat.

The two others were Anchorage School Board member Dave Donley and Albert Fogle, who had previously run for both Shaw’s House seat and a seat on the Anchorage Assembly.

Birch’s daughter, Tali Birch Kindred, had applied to replace her father in the Senate, but her name was not advanced by the state GOP.

If Shaw is confirmed, the Alaska Republican Party will have to submit another name to Gov. Dunleavy to fill the vacant House seat.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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