By AlaskaWatchman.com

By Thursday morning, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna will decide whether conservative State Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) will be allowed to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Randall Kowalke

In a Sept. 20 hearing, Eastman’s attorney – former U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller – argued that attempts to remove Eastman from the ballot amount to an unsubstantiated and politically motivated hit job against a conservative politician.

The case involves former Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman Randall Kowalke, who is being assisted by the hard-left legal group Norther Justice Project. Kowalke asserts voters shouldn’t even have the option of voting for Eastman because of his membership with the national Oath Keepers group, an organization that Kowalke claims advocates for the overthrow of the federal government.

Kowalke says Eastman’s membership violates the Alaska Constitution’s loyalty clause and he wants Judge McKenna to order the Division of Elections to disqualify Eastman from the ballot.

The loyalty clause states: “No person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the United States or of the State shall be qualified to hold any public office of trust or profit under this constitution.”

Earlier this summer, the Division of Elections reviewed a complaint by Kowalke in which he asked for Eastman to be nixed from the ballot. The state agency, however, determined that Eastman was a candidate in good standing, regardless of his membership with Oath Keepers.

Eastman
Rep. David Eastman

Kowalke doesn’t think the Division of Elections faithfully carried out its mission to vet candidates. Since his case against Eastman doesn’t officially begin until mid-December, he wants a judge to step in with a preliminary injunction that removes Eastman from the Nov. 8 ballot.

Kowalke’s main argument revolves around the fact that some Oath Keepers have been charged – but not convicted – in the events that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Two members of the 38,000-member national organization have pleaded guilty of seditious conspiracy to try and stop the certification of the presidential election.

Despite the actions of a small percentage of its members, Oath Keepers bylaws do not call for the overthrow of the government, and neither has Eastman.

On Sept. 20, Judge McKenna asked Kowalke’s attorney Savanna Venetis Fletcher how Eastman’s Oath Keepers membership, alone, made him ineligible to run for public office.

Fletcher tried to lump Eastman in with the few bad actors from Jan. 6, and argued that allowing him to stay on the ballot would cause “irreparable harm” to voters in State House District 27 because Eastman might later be deemed ineligible to hold public office after the main December trial regarding his Oath Keepers membership plays out.

“If we start saying that somebody who has an association with a disfavored group can’t run for office, what have we become?” Miller asked the judge.

Miller countered by saying that none of the allegations against Eastman have been proven, and that the entire case shows a “reckless disregard” for evidence – resting on mainstream press reports and complaints by Eastman’s political opponents.

Miller said the entire Oath Keepers organization has been “drug through the media” as an insurrectionist group, despite the fact that there has only been a few dozen of them indicted out of tens of thousands of law-abiding members.

He pointed out that every Oath Keeper takes an oath of allegiance to uphold the federal constitution. Mere association with a group that may have some bad actors should not be sufficient to bar a candidate from running for office, Miller maintained.

“If we start saying that somebody who has an association with a disfavored group can’t run for office, what have we become?” Miller asked the judge.

Furthermore, he noted that Alaska’s disloyalty clause mandates public office holders to take an oath to the state and federal constitutions at the time they are sworn in – something which Eastman has done repeatedly.

Eastman’s decision to attend former President Donald Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 is not evidence that he supports insurrection.

“The oath is the means by which you determine whether or not somebody is in compliance,” Miller argued.

He added that Eastman’s decision to attend former President Donald Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 is not evidence that he supports insurrection. In fact, there were tens of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding citizens who turned out to listen to their sitting U.S. president give a speech that day.

If the court removes Eastman from the ballot based of his membership with Oath Keepers, it would not only disenfranchise voters, but cause irreparable harm, Miller said.

Miller also suggested that Eastman’s Oath Keepers membership is tenuous, at best. He signed up on an email list 13 years ago, made a one-time donation and then received a “lifetime membership” certificate in the mail. Since then, he has never attended an Oath Keepers meeting or rally, nor has he once advocated for the violent overthrow of the government.

“There is no way the plaintiffs can contest those facts, and they haven’t,” Miller said.

Arguing on behalf of the Division of Elections, Assistant Attorney General Lael Harrison said Judge McKenna should reject the plaintiff’s request against Eastman.

She said the Division of Elections was fully aware of Eastman’s attendance at the Jan. 6 rally and his Oath Keepers membership – neither of which was found to be sufficient grounds to remove him from the ballot.

Furthermore, Harrison noted that the Division of Election’s primary job is to ensure public confidence in elections, and that anything which disrupts that process has the “potential to cause an actual problem or a perception concern in the eye of the public.”

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Judge set to decide whether Rep. Eastman can appear on Nov. 8 ballot

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


16 Comments

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Here’s a great example of democrats being scared of one man. They will do anything to stay in power. How about we Independent and republican people start looking into and brings court cases against democrats for their wrong doing. I’d bet within a day or two the court docket would be overflowing and the b.s. would stop. As a child we all should of have learned that people who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    I wish we were at the rally in Washington DC that day too. Eastman did no wrong, by just being at the rally. Plus he did not go inside the capital building that day.
    This is why we need to vote Yes to change our constitution on judges and the PFD.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    Kowalke… long lost brother of Gavin Newsom? Same politics. Same hair.

  • Rep. David Eastman says:

    Putting this latest legal attack in context, these are the same people who have been trying to overturn (overthrow?) my 2020 election to the Alaska House of Representatives since before I even took office. I was elected in 2020, with 73.70% of the vote in my district.

    Despite public claims that elections are sacrosanct and challenging the results of an election makes one an enemy of democracy, some of these same people have no objection to setting aside the will of the vast majority of voters in my district simply because they are conservative and so am I.

    Last year, they sought to overturn my election simply because, like almost a million other Americans, I traveled to DC to hear the president’s speech. That was enough, in their mind, for them to launch a campaign to try to have me removed from office and my election annulled. Nine months later, and after their campaign against me had utterly failed, Oath Keepers was the target of a data breach, including their financial transactions going back to 2009 the year they were formed. Now they are asking a judge to annual not just my 2020 election, but also the August primary election where I received a majority of the vote earlier this year.

    The Left knows that this is an abuse of our election process. They know that it is an abuse of our constitution and our judicial process. They have embarked on this latest attack because it is an opportunity to continue to slander me and other conservatives who have committed no crime other than steadfastly opposing the Left’s political agenda. Yes, I am guilty of that. Today, that is enough to justify trying to overturn elections. It is enough to justify accusing me publicly of supporting terrorism and treason, which they have in their current lawsuit against me.

    Even if they are unsuccessful in convincing a judge to overturn my elections, they are counting on the fact that it will require me to spend more time and money defending myself in the courtroom than I have, and prevent me from being able to spend that time and money campaigning for office in Wasilla.

    If Americans who continue to love the Constitution, as I do, are willing to stand against these assaults on our constitution and our election process, and sacrifice their hard-earned financial resources in doing so, then we will prevail. If I am not able to raise sufficient donations to fight against this, then they will have succeeded in what they set out to achieve.

    Make no mistake, the Left has very deliberately increased the premium on being able to maintain a conservative voice in the legislature in my district.
    Are you able to join with me in paying that higher premium, or will they price conservatives out of being able to have their voice heard in our government? I am willing, and with your support, we will pay whatever price is required rather than allow our voice to be silenced.

    Please visit http://www.davidlegal.org

  • Lobo says:

    File suit against Kowalke, and associates for defamation of character… The suit agianst Eastman doesn’t give legal cover against making defamation statements, publically, when they are known to be false.

  • James says:

    I have low confidence in any Alaska judge.

    • Lobo says:

      If I remember correctly, they are the ones decidiing on which Judicial appointees will be on the ballots, or appointed.. I coulkd be worng on that, but I don’t think so.

  • Johnny says:

    The left is crumbling, the vax narrative is fairy dust and everyones dead or dying from it, we know it the world knows it, wokeness is tagging right along with it, it’s over morons take Brandon with you on the way out.

  • R says:

    R.Kow says David advocates for insurrection…., BUT the Truth is: R.Kow is participating in an Extremely Woke-ISH Commie attack on our Constitution and God given Rights.
    LET’S GO R.KOW
    If the judge takes David off the ballot, he’s also in the same group of Luciferian Evil……!

  • American and Alaskan says:

    Is Constitutionalist Representative Eastman guilty by association? No formal charges no convictions but Kowalke demands remove him from duly elected office.
    So now it is only fair to talk about guilt by association.
    Facts:
    Litigant Kowalke was appointed to office by ex (Democrat) Governor Walker. He wasn’t elected to office by the constituency of MatSu. He then worked with ex Gov. Walker to give control of Alaska’s natural gas to our known enemy China.
    Now Kowalke supports Walker’s run for second term as governor.
    Never forget Walker opened the floodgates for politicians to raid your Alaska PFD. And they have. Largest budgets in history.
    Kowalke listed he worked as management at Alaska Industrial Hardware. A.I.H. owner Josef Boehm was convicted of felonies and sent to prison.
    Kowalke states he lived and worked on many boards in Oregon and Washington. In my opinion, and I think most would agree Oregon and Washington are train wrecks, failing liberal states. Just go visit Seattle or Portland. Do they have rolling brownouts? Very high utility rates?
    Is this a pretense for Kowalke to get himself lined up for Representative Eastman’s seat in Juneau? Perhaps another run at giving away Alaska’s gas to China or now Europe? Could be if Walker or another liberal gets elected via ranked choice voting. Would this set Kowalke for a position in the Walker administration? Set him up for a windfall? Kowalke does state he was/is in the oil industry on the North Slope.
    So is Representative Eastman guilty by association? Is Kowalke guilty by association?
    Such a very slippery slope.

  • Mary says:

    Interesting how the Left is constantly trying to silence free speech. Trevor Loudin is just coming out with two books in which he puts U.S. Senators, staff and spouces under a magnifying class. BINGO: A vast majority have undeniable connections to communist party members/spies from one country or another.
    Take Diane Feindtein for instance. A known communist spy in her employee and no one has held her accountable.
    The attack on David Eastman is an ongoing attempt to muzzle a conservative voice in Juneau. This sort of tactic should not be allowed in any free country.
    Let’s put your life under a magnifying glass Randal Kowalke! I wonder what would slither out.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Rep. David Eastman works for the People and with the People of the Mat-Su Valley and the entire state. Prayers that Judge Jack McKenna hands out a decision that is supported by the law. Thank you Attorney Joe Miller for representing Repesentative David Eastman! We are keeping you in our prayers Rep. Eastman! God bless you!

  • Mortified says:

    Dear Representative David Eastman,
    Just a word of encouragement, hang in there, the Lord knows the score. You have proven to the people you represent, what is on your heart. You have been under fire since day one and through it all you have not wavered, stooped down or resorted to the kind of skullduggery your oppressors have. It is very obvious you have been attacked on every side by those who are inclosed in their own fat, with their mouths they speak proudly! Like greedy lions they privily lurk in secret places. You are on the right side and will prevail. We are praying for you!

  • Whidbey Thedog says:

    A wolf in sheep’s clothing if ever there was one.

  • North to Alaska says:

    To be clear, the judge does not get to decide if Eastman is on the ballot. The judge has no authority.
    The division of elections has that authority. They need to laugh at the judge and ignore him.

  • Steve says:

    Just donated to Eastman’s defense fund.

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