Whoa! This is huge news!
State Sen. Pam Galloway, who faces a recall election this summer, plans to resign from the Senate shortly, leaving an even split between Republicans and Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) confirmed her plans Friday and said he believed Galloway would make an announcement later in the day.
Fitzgerald said Galloway was resigning because of health issues in her family. He said he was confident she could have won the recall election.
This means that the Senate will be divided equally between 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats once Galloway's resignation is effective. Now there are two big questions to answer. The first is how Galloway's vacant seat will be filled. We have a strong candidate in the form of Rep. Donna Seidel, who had already been planning to run in the recall; presumably, she'll seek Galloway's seat regardless. The other is whether Republicans will be forced into a power-sharing arrangement in the Senate, with the chamber split between the two parties. We'll bring you more on both of these issues as we learn it.
8:22 AM PT: This is what I had thought was the case. From the same article as above, which has now been lengthened:
The recall election against Galloway would still move forward even though she would no longer occupy the seat, said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Government Accountability Board, which runs state elections.
As long as Galloway resigns before the election, though, her name will not appear on the ballot.