Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, center, sits before the start of a brief House floor session in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska House has voted to elect Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes as speaker, more than three weeks into the legislative session. It was not immediately clear what shape a majority might take. Republican Rep. Kelly Merrick of Eagle River voted for Stutes, giving Stutes 21 votes, the minimum needed. Stutes has been part of a 20-member bipartisan coalition composed largely of Democrats. Stutes has been the lone Republican in that group. There also has been a 20-member Republican bloc. Merrick said she has not joined the coalition. She said she’s been frustrated by the deadlock and that her vote ensures no matter how organization comes together, a Republican will be speaker.