On Tuesday night, House District 38 Democrats took their first step toward replacing Representative Zach Fansler, who resigned last week amidst assault allegations.
The caucus selected Ben Anderson-Agimuk, age 25, to chair their local party. A political organizer from Tununak and Bethel, Anderson-Agimuk is Fansler’s former aide and his first job will be to help replace him.
Anderson-Agimuk wouldn’t comment on Fansler’s resignation; he still works for the legislature and thought that would be inappropriate. But he did describe what he’s looking for in Fansler’s replacement. House District 38's ideal candidate would vote with the Democrat’s majority coalition in the State House, he said, and would be willing to run for reelection in six months in what could be a grueling campaign.
"There would be a lot of village travel," said Anderson-Agimuk. "Your campaign will be as tough as your opponent, and we don’t know what we’ll have in store."
As chair, Anderson-Agimuk will help his party through a convoluted candidate selection process. Governor Walker needs to select Fansler’s replacement by March 14, and House District 38's Democrats need to nominate three prospective candidates before then for him to review. Those nominations can only be made by a selection committee, a panel of four or five constituents who will evaluate the candidates' applications. House District 38 doesn't have that committee yet, because they could not select its members without a party chair.
Over the next few days, Anderson-Agimuk's job will be accepting applications from potential committee members, which he will then forward to the state’s Democratic Party for review. If you have any questions, please contact Anderson-Agimuk directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: A previous version of this article said that Anderson-Agimuk would be accepting applications for potential committee members over the next few weeks. In fact, he will be selecting them over the next few days.