Two House State Republicans Get Challengers ***UPDATE*** Hughes Files For State Senate.



Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) has filed a letter of intent with APOC to run for the State Senate seat currently held by the retiring Sen. Bill Stoltze.

shelley hughes for state house


In the last few days, two Alaska State House Representatives have attracted primary opponents.

In House District 27 (East Anchorage) Rep. Lance Pruitt will be challenged in the Republican primary by John Zebutis.

Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) records show Zebutis has filed his letter of intent allowing him to raise money. He has also launched a facebook page and a website for his campaign. Neither page gives any background information on Mr. Zebutis.

In an email Zebutis said:

I aim to try to restore some common sense and high ethical standards to our legislature. I am a believer in individual thought, and my views likely vary from conservative, libertarian, to even progressive, whatever I believe is best for the State (and Country). I do not think a rigid hard-lined platform is good for the Republican Party, and I don’t think the ideological partisan battles are solving real-world problems. I don’t expect anyone to agree with every single one of my views and ideas, and even celebrate the fact we live in a Country where that can be the case.

I am running on a no-corruption shoestring-budget theme. In that vein, I am not accepting any campaign donations and, if elected, will not accept any gifts or trips.

How serious of a challenger will Mr. Zebutis be to Pruitt is an open question. Zebutis continued:

I am as opposite from the typical politician as one can get. I have no experience in government. 23 years of night-shifts means I am not a social butterfly.


Being the opposite of a politician, and believing that if everything that is normally done is resulting in things being f***ed up, doing the opposite of normal might be the way to go. Plus I could not look myself in the eye if it was implied in any way, shape, or form, that one dollar given to my campaign was going to result in a political favor. So no campaign donations and no kickoff fundraisers, it will be just me and a sign wandering East Anchorage.

Mr. Zebutis appears to be sincere in his desire to make things better, but a lack of experience in government, social introversion, and an unwillingness to raise or spend money on a campaign don’t tend to be characteristics common to successful political campaigns.

Hughes’ Seat Also Now In Play

Out in the Mat-Su valley the Game of Thrones may have begun. Sen. Bill Stoltze’s announcement that he will not be running for re-election could unleash a series of campaign moves as current and aspiring politicians see openings everywhere. Rumors are flying that Reps. Shelley Hughes and Cathy Tilton are both looking at running for his senate seat. If they do that will create two state house seats and a state senate seat without an incumbent, making them more attractive for fresh candidates.

Those possibilities have now drawn a candidate for the District 11 Greater Palmer area seat Rep. Hughes currently occupies and at the moment is still registered as a candidate for re-election. Former City of Palmer Councilman Richard Best has filed a letter of intent with APOC to run for the seat. Best is a known Republican who has donated to the Republican Party of Alaska three times already this year.

At this point it’s unknown if Best is willing to continue to run for the seat if Hughes continues to run for re-election rather than seek Stolze’s senate seat. Best told The Midnight Sun we can expect more details later in the week when he will be issuing a press release discussing his run.

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